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Jan 30, 2015

Qatar Airways takes $1.7 bln stake in British Airways-owner IAG

LONDON (Reuters) – Qatar Airways has bought a 9.99 percent stake in International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) worth around 1.15 billion pounds ($1.7 billion), building closer ties with the owner of its partners British Airways and Iberia in the oneworld alliance.

Qatar’s national airline said it would look to strengthen commercial ties with the European carrier and may consider increasing its stake over time, although it was not currently intending to exceed 9.99 percent.

Jan 28, 2015

Qatari-led group wins $4 billion battle for London’s Canary Wharf

LONDON (Reuters) – A Qatari-led consortium looked set to win its long-running battle to buy Songbird Estates (SBDE.L: Quote, Profile, Research) on Wednesday after the owner of London’s Canary Wharf business district dropped its opposition to the $4 billion offer.

Songbird said it still thought the price undervalued the estate but with no rival bid forthcoming and holders of 86 percent of the shares backing the deal, it said its minority investors should accept.

Jan 28, 2015

Qatari-led group wins $4 billion battle for Canary Wharf

LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – A Qatari-led consortium looked
set to win its long-running battle to buy Songbird Estates
on Wednesday after the owner of London’s Canary Wharf
business district dropped its opposition to the $4 billion
offer.

Songbird said it still thought the price undervalued the
estate but with no rival bid forthcoming and holders of 86
percent of the shares backing the deal, it said its minority
investors should accept.

Jan 27, 2015

EasyJet sees better first half on lower fuel bill

LONDON, Jan 27 (Reuters) – British budget airline easyJet
said losses in the quieter winter season would shrink
this year, helped by a lower fuel bill and flying more planes on
popular routes such as London to Geneva.

Europe’s second-largest budget airline by passengers after
Ryanair said it expected losses of between 10 million
and 30 million pounds ($15-45 million) for the six months to the
end of March, down from a loss of 53 million pounds last year.

Jan 22, 2015

Balfour slashes profit forecast again on construction woes

LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters) – British infrastructure group
Balfour Beatty cut its 2014 profit forecast, cancelled
a 200 million-pound share buyback and put its dividend under
review on Thursday after a review by auditors uncovered weak
controls and escalating costs in its construction contracts.

The further deterioration at Balfour’s troubled British
construction unit, combined with a reassessment of contract
values, will reduce 2014 profit by 70 million pounds ($106
million), the company said.

Jan 19, 2015

UK’s Serious Fraud Office ends investigation into HP-Autonomy deal

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has closed its investigation into the ill-fated sale of Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard Co in 2011, saying there was not enough evidence to secure a conviction of the software firm’s former executives.

Autonomy was supposed to be the $11.1 billion centerpiece of a shift into software for HP, but the deal turned sour a year later when it wrote off three quarters of the company’s value.

Jan 18, 2015

Bolland’s strategy in focus as M&S clothes lose universal appeal

LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) – For generations, British children
went to school in Marks & Spencer’s clothes, teenagers
turned to it for first interview suits and shoppers of all ages
bought its underwear.

But the arrival over the last 20 years of fast, cheap
fashion at one end of the market and affordable luxury at the
other has left M&S struggling to recapture its universal appeal.

Jan 13, 2015

Greggs shares hit high after strong Christmas trading

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – British baker Greggs said
it expected to beat full-year market expectations thanks to
strong demand for its hot snacks and coffee over the Christmas
season, driving its share to an all-time high.

The group, which also sells sausage rolls and sandwiches,
saw sales accelerate towards the end of the year, with own shop
like-for-like sales growth in the fourth quarter averaging 6.0
percent and rising to 8.2 percent for the five weeks to Jan 3.

Jan 8, 2015

Tesco banks on simpler prices to woo shoppers and suppliers

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is betting that a more consistent approach to pricing on hundreds of branded products will enable it to compete better with discount supermarkets, improve relationships with suppliers and direct more shoppers to higher-margin items.

As Britain’s No. 1 grocer fights to overcome the biggest crisis in its 95-year-history, it is testing a strategy closer to the everyday low prices offered by discounters such as Aldi who are stealing shoppers from the “big four” supermarket chains.

Jan 8, 2015

Marks & Spencer’s Christmas spoiled by online delivery problems

LONDON (Reuters) – Marks & Spencer missed Christmas sales forecasts, hit by delivery problems at its online business and raising fresh questions about chief executive Marc Bolland’s turnaround strategy for Britain’s biggest clothing retailer.

The 131-year-old mainstay of Britain’s shopping streets said on Wednesday same-store sales of general merchandise, which includes clothing, gifts and homewares, plunged 5.8 percent in the 13 weeks to Dec. 27.