Sunday newspaper round-up: JD Sports, Abrdn, Snowfox Group

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The head of JD Sports, Peter Cowgill, is facing questions from the Competition and Markets Authority over his meeting in a car park with Footasylum boss, Barry Brown. They were filmed at the weekend sitting in a black Mercedes at Bridge Hall industrial park, leading to the watchdog’s investigation into whether or not they breached the rules governing JD Sport’s takeover of its smaller rival. In the video, which was seen by The Sunday Times, they were joined in the car by JD’s general counsel, Siobhan Mawdsley, who later left. The investigation comes as the CMA is still examining JD’s 2019 offer to buy out Footasylum. – Sunday Times

Abrdn has tabled a bid for online stockbroker Interactive Investor in order to gain direct access to consumers and boost its digital capabilities. Sky News reported that the bid was worth £1.5bn. II was however set to continue with its plans to float on the London Stock Exchange even as it maintains talks with Abrdn. Sky also reported that the aim was to close a deal over the next two weeks. Abrdn issued an emergency announcement confirming the talks with II’s owner, JC Flowers. – Sunday Times

Snowfox Group has put its plans to float on the stock market on ice due to growing unease among investors as a result of heightened market volatility. The company, which owns sushi chain Yo!, alongside other brands such as Bento and Taiko, had hired Numis to advise it on an initial public offering that had been expected imminently. Nevertheless, the company may revive its plans in the new year. – Sunday Times

The founder of OneWeb, Grew Wyler, is understood to be behind a filing with the United Nations by Rwanda’s space agency to put 327,000 small satellites in low orbit in order to create a global wireless broadband network. That would be a direct challenge to OneWeb and Elon Musk’s Starlink. Rwanda would effectively be laying claim to large swathes of the sky the rights for which could then be sold on even if it never put a single satellite in space. That has triggered concern regarding the ultimate fate of those rights. – Sunday Telegraph

BA will announce that it is launching a new short-haul airline from Gatwick. That comes after it finalised talks with the Unite union late last week, which represents 10,000 of its cabin crew, engineers and ground staff. Clinching a deal with Unite was the last major hurdle remaining before BA could begin hiring staff ahead of the first flights scheduled from next April. The final talks with ground handling staff and Gatwick were expected to conclude “imminently”, BA chief, Sean Doyle, said. – Financial Mail on Sunday

Royal Mail is looking into claims that its drivers are logging fraudulent overtime after The Mail on Sunday raised the alarm. The company is now investigating allegations that four of its HGV drivers at its distribution centre in Crick, Northamptonshire, routinely manipulated their hours. Claims of similar practices at three other offices are also being looked into. – Financial Mail on Sunday

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