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Aug 24, 2015

UTV Media in talks to sell TV assets; ITV tipped as buyer

Aug 24 (Reuters) – Northern Ireland’s UTV Media Plc,
one of only two independent broadcasters in the ITV network,
said it may sell its TV franchise, sending its shares up as much
as 13.4 percent.

The Belfast Telegraph reported on Saturday that UTV was due
to sell its television division to ITV Plc in a
multi-million-pound deal. (bit.ly/1Jesiem)

Aug 21, 2015

Spire Healthcare cuts outlook on hit from NHS funding crunch

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) – British hospital operator Spire
Healthcare Group Plc cut its profit growth guidance for
the full year on Friday, blaming a funding crisis in the
government-funded National Health Service (NHS) for a drop in
referrals to its services.

Chief Executive Rob Roger said deficits in some units of the
state health provider would result in some near-term weakness
in demand over the remainder of this financial year.

Aug 20, 2015

Street artist Banksy’s “Dismaland” is “escape from mindless escapism”

WESTON-SUPER-MARE, England, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Britain’s
newest theme park, “Dismaland”, opens on Friday, with a decrepit
castle, a merry-go-round horse set to be cooked and model boats
on a pool full of refugees, all courtesy of British street
artist Banksy.

The “Bemusement Park” in Weston-super-Mare, an English
seaside town near Banksy’s home city of Bristol, is tagged as
“The UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction!” and
features work by other artists including Damien Hirst.

Aug 18, 2015

Wal-Mart’s British supermarket chain Asda hits ‘nadir’

LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) – Supermarket operator Asda, the UK
arm of Wal-Mart, has suffered its worst quarterly sales
performance in the 16 years it’s been owned by the U.S. group,
with results on Tuesday highlighting its struggles in the face
of an onslaught from discounters.

Asda and its biggest rivals, market leader Tesco,
Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, are all losing
ground in a fierce price war sparked by lower prices at Aldi
and Lidl and are also being hurt by
record commodity-led deflation.

Aug 13, 2015

Shire seen having wiggle room on price in $30 bln Baxalta battle

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Baxalta wants Shire
to improve on its $30 billion bid significantly before
it will engage in talks, while its Dublin-based rival could
sweeten its offer if it gets to see the U.S. biotech company’s
books, according to sources on both sides.

Both camps are pushing hard behind the scenes to get the
upper hand in what is the latest of a string of takeover battles
in the healthcare sector.

Aug 7, 2015

UK reviewer criticised after jumping the gun on Cumberbatch’s “Hamlet”

LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) – The theatre critic of the London
Times received poor reviews of her own after she broke with
protocol by reviewing Benedict Cumberbatch’s hotly anticipated
“Hamlet” weeks before its official opening.

Cumberbatch, 39, star of the BBC TV series “Sherlock” who
has become one of Britain’s biggest sex symbols, had all the
energy Hamlet required but little subtlety, said Kate Maltby in
a tepid review entitled “What a waste! It’s Shakespeare for the
kids”.

Aug 7, 2015

Migrant walks Channel Tunnel in bid to reach Britain from France

LONDON (Reuters) – A Sudanese migrant walked the 50 kilometer (31 mile) Channel Tunnel from France, dodging high-speed trains and evading security guards before he was stopped just short of the British entrance and arrested.

Thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East have been trying to flee makeshift camps in the French port of Calais and enter Britain illegally by jumping onto lorries and hiding on trains, disrupting cross-Channel freight and passenger traffic.

Aug 6, 2015

Inmarsat reschedules Global Xpress satellite launch for end-Aug

LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Britain’s Inmarsat plc
said on Thursday the satellite needed to complete its new Global
Xpress network would launch at the end of this month after its
rocket partner quickly recovered from a failure in May which
upset schedules.

The provider of communications for shipping and aircraft had
to delay the start of the service, which its says will deliver
$500 million in annual revenue within five years, when a rocket
carrying a Mexican satellite malfunctioned and burnt up over
Siberia minutes after launch in May.

Aug 4, 2015

Drugmaker Shire bids $30 billion for Baxter spin-off Baxalta

LONDON (Reuters) – Drugmaker Shire (SHP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Tuesday it was seeking to buy Baxalta (BXLT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), a company spun-off by Baxter International (BAX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) last month, for $30 billion to forge the leading global specialist in rare diseases.

The London-listed group went public with its approach after the U.S. firm turned it down. Shire said its unsolicited offer of 0.1687 Shire American depositary receipts per share valued each Baxalta share at $45.23. Shares in Baxalta jumped 19 percent to $39.50 in pre-market trading.

Jul 29, 2015

British biopharma start-up Mereo kicks off with Novartis drugs

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – British investor Neil Woodford
is backing a start-up biopharmaceutical firm whose first venture
will be to launch clinical trials of three drugs developed by
Novartis.

London-based Mereo BioPharma Group, set up in March, aims to
buy drugs discovered by big pharmaceutical companies and fund
and design later-stage clinical trials.