July 3, 2006 3:09 pm

July 3: EADS crisis drags down BAE

July 3: Our attention today is heavily focused on what BAE Systems will do next, now that its stake in Airbus has been valued at about half what some had expected. BAE’s shares are off about 3 per cent. Some think they ought to be off more but are being supported by the belief that the company will decide against selling the stake and won’t go shopping in the US. EADS, which would now have to pay much less for BAE’s Airbus stake than expected, has seen its shares bounce around and now trade flat.

Among the bloggers, Pigilito in Switzerland has a splendid rant against French state interference in business and at EADS in particular. And check out Randy’s Journal for some shameless propaganda on why Boeing is better than Airbus. As vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle, Randy Baseler is “the lucky guy who gets to travel the world talking about Boeing’s perspective on commercial aviation”. Matthew Stibbe, editor of ModernPilot.com, draws an interesting comparison between Boeing’s use of blogs and Airbus’s more conventional form of marketing warfare.

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IN Columnists

Southern Cross, the care homes operator backed by Blackstone, has revived its float plans. It may be the first to return to the market since cancelling its listing, but we’ll check.

The Takeover Panel has imposed a “put up or shut up” order on the bidders for Enodis. Manitowoc and Middleby now have until July 17 to bid. It seems so odd that Enodis should only have been able to draw out these two small, obscure companies and that none of the big US groups such as UTC and Electrolux have not shown any real interest in Enodis.

Get that wet towel ready: there will be more later on the bondholders’ alternative restructuring plan for Eurotunnel.

Friends Provident is closing its final salary pension scheme to new members and is raising the retirement age.

Mecom, David Montgomery’s acquisition vehicle, is today expected to begin a roadshow to raise £300m of equity. Earlier today, Orkla of Norway said it had agreed to sell its media business to Mecom for $1.13bn. Montgomery has been looking at lots of European newspapers with good market positions but shoddy margins. I think we should take a closer look at this strategy. Amuse yourselves by reading Kristine Lowe’s blog on the bellyaching in Norway about foreign media ownership. Norway’s culture minister says he would prefer a Norwegian owner for the business, or something like that (my Norwegian isn’t up to much).

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