Sunday newspaper round-up: Vodafone Group, TSB, Inmarsat

Activist investor Cevian Capital has taken out a stake in Vodafone Group and is understood to have held talks in recent weeks regarding ways for the company to improve its performance. Cevian could push Vodafone to sell some of its assets around the world, strengthen key business lines or buy back shares, Bloomberg reported. Rumours regarding the outfit’s vulnerability to a take over were already swirling last week with private equity outfits said to be circling. In order to ward off that threat, Vodafone has been considering acquisitions or a merger of its wireless towers with Deutche Telekom or Orange. It has also approached CK Hutchinson about a possible merger. – Financial Mail on Sunday

Nationwide’s initial talks to acquire TSB have stalled, but there is a flurry of speculation that the deal will be back on. The talks with TSB’s Spanish owner, TSB, were carried out in 2020, when its UK unit was put for sale. Now, TSB’s former chief executive officer is set to take over the reins at Nationwide. A tie-up would create a major new force in mortgage lending and savings, capable of competing with the likes of Lloyds Banking Group. Nevertheless, Cooperative Bank, which has already tried twice to buy TSB might yet scupper its plans. – Financial Mail on Sunday

US satellite maker Viasat has defended the purchase of UK rival Inmarsat, saying that it is not “stealing” the country’s crown jewel and expressed confidence that the government’s potential probe would clear the takeover as a possible threat to national security. “This is not a step-in-and-steal deal,” Viasat chief executive officer, Rick Baldridge, said. “We have a longstanding relationship in the UK, we didn’t just come here for this deal. It isn’t about ripping out cost to make the numbers. I don’t think people here will see a lot of change.” – Guardian

Prices at grocers owned by private equity are rising more dramatically than at rivals, prompting questions about whether buyouts of Morrisons and Asda will leave shoppers more out of pocket amid the current bout of inflation. The price of a basket of 18 staoes has jumped by 15.3% to £20.37 at Morrisons and by 13.6% to £18.08 at Asda, according to research group Assosia. Across the wider market the cost of that same basked had increased by 8.3%. Morrisons was also the most expensive of the big four grocers over the past six weeks, as per The Grocer 33, a widely-followed survey of industry conditions. – The Sunday Times

Britain’s windfarms generated a record amount of electricity this past weekend as storm Malik swept across areas of Scotland and northern England. Power generation reached a record 19,500 megawatts, amid winds of up to 100 miles and hour, an amount equal to roughly half the country’s electricity, according to data from National Grid. Such winter storms follow a summer of low wind generation across Europe. The previous record for wind generation of 17.5GW was hit during the May bank holiday. – Guardian

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