Sunday newspaper round-up: Melrose Industries, Rolls Royce, Flutter Entertainment

by | Sep 5, 2021

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The boss of one of Britain’s major engineering groups has urged ministers not to intervene in a flurry of US takeovers of British companies, saying the UK must protect its reputation as an open, trading economy. Simon Peckham, chief executive of the FTSE 100 giant Melrose Industries, said that rather than fretting over British corporate gems being owned by foreign buyers, the UK should be encouraging home-grown firms to buy up companies abroad. – Sunday Times

Engineering giant Rolls-Royce has issued a robust defence of its Power Systems business amid suggestions from its biggest shareholder that the division should be sold off. Causeway Capital Management, which owns just under 9 per cent, last week launched an attack on the board and mooted the sale. The intervention came as Anita Frew is poised to become chair next month. – Financial Mail on Sunday

The FTSE 100 owner of PaddyPowerBetfair is introducing a £500 monthly cap on losses for younger customers, as the betting industry battles to prove it is doing enough to protect problem gamblers. Flutter Entertainment, the world’s biggest online gambling company, is today bringing in the measure to block under-25s in the UK from losing more than £500 a month or, for those in Ireland, 500 (£430). – Sunday Times

Marks & Spencer has held an emergency meeting with 40 of its top European food suppliers amid fears EU member states and the UK are not ready for the introduction of stringent border controls within a month. New restrictions being introduced from October 1 are expected to disrupt imports from the EU – the source of a quarter of Britain’s food. – Financial Mail on Sunday

A Manhattan property company will take aim at IWG founder Mark Dixon this week over his controversial move to put a Jersey-based subsidiary that guaranteed their rents into bankruptcy after sucking £644m in cash from the firm. The serviced office company sparked outrage last October after winding up Regus Plc, leaving landlords whose leases were guaranteed by the subsidiary with no recourse as the parent company pushed for rent cuts in the wake of Covid. – Sunday Telegraph

A US federal bankruptcy judge on Wednesday conditionally approved a sweeping, potentially $10bn plan submitted by the OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to settle a mountain of lawsuits over its role in the opioid crisis that has killed a half-million Americans over the past two decades. Under the settlement reached with creditors including individual victims and thousands of state and local governments, the Sackler family will give up ownership of the company and contribute $4.5bn but will be freed from any future lawsuits over opioids. – Guardian

Britain’s biggest mobile network, O2, is co-operating with the Serious Fraud Office over allegations of bribery, in an investigation that threatens to confirm long-standing suspicions of widespread corruption. The ongoing investigation was triggered after a management shake-up in 2017, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal. Industry sources said it relates to allegations that O2 executives were involved in the payment of kickbacks with customers. – Sunday Telegraph

China’s Alibaba Group will invest 100bn yuan ($15.5bn) by 2025 in support of “common prosperity”, it said, becoming the latest corporate giant to pledge support for the initiative driven by the president, Xi Jinping. Beijing has been encouraging companies to share wealth as part of the effort to ease inequality in the world’s second-largest economy. Other companies that have made similar announcements include Tencent Holdings, which also pledged 100bn yuan, and Geely Automobile. – Guardian

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