December 16: One day after Macquarie bid for the London Stock Exchange, Euronext shares are up on reports in France’s Le Figaro that it has received an informal takeover approach from Deutsche Börse. The two continental exchanges have discussed a tie-up many times before. Meanwhile, Euronext is also considering its options for the LSE, but its own shareholders aren’t keen and a deal with Deutsche Börse would probably yield far greater benefits. Euronext has until the end of January to say whether and how it will meet the various conditions imposed by the Competition Commission if it is to bid for the LSE. Its answer would then be open to three weeks’ public consultation. LSE shares are virtually unchanged at 619p, way above the 580p Macquarie is offering. Go to FT.com for all the background.
Centrica has warned of more price rises for British Gas customers and plans to cut hundreds more jobs in 2006 as wholesale price rises take effect. An unspecified number of jobs would be cut, including 40 per cent of staff in Centrica’s Windsor headquarters, which has about 1,000 staff. Centrica already announced this year plans to cut 2,000 back office jobs and 450 call centre jobs. This is more of a consumer story than a financial one: the trading update is in line with expectations.
Michael Page International, Britain’s second largest recruitment company, said chief executive Terry Benson is to stand down following next May’s annual general meeting. He is to be replaced by Stephen Ingham, currently managing director of the company’s main UK arm.
Alliance Unichem, which has announced plans to merge with Boots, has a produced a pretty ho-hum trading update. It says wholesale and retail drug sales increased slower than the company forecast in the second half because of government price cuts in the UK.
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