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Catlin, the Lloyd’s of London insurer, said this morning it had made an offer to buy its smaller rival Wellington Underwriting, as predicted by Andrea Felsted on Saturday, in a cash and shares deal which values Wellington at £591m. It would be the first significant deal in the Lloyd’s insurance sector for several years. It would create the largest syndicate in terms of underwriting capacity and one of the largest Lloyd’s insurers by market value. It may also spark expectations of more similar deals.

888 Holdings has confirmed it has had “various preliminary discussions with third parties following suspension of its US activities”. One of these parties, as was reported at the weekend and again this morning, is PartyGaming.

Very interesting story this morning in the Telegraph about cash shells on Aim being used to abuse the tax advantages of Gift Aid. The piece gives no specific examples but says: “Three separate Aim advisors - called Nomads - are believed to have promoted the schemes, which are now at the centre of an Inland Revenue investigation.” We’ll see what more we can find out.

Pearson is on track to produce record full-year profits, the publishing group that owns the Financial Times said today as it unveiled an 11 per cent rise in underlying operating profits for the first nine months of the year.

Cadbury Schweppes has dropped its operating margin growth target. The company has also posted full details of its investment seminar on its website.

Russian steelmaker Severstal has set the price range for its IPO at $11-$13.5 a share.

Rumour of the Day: Standard Life is the sharpest riser in the FTSE 100, up just over 2 per cent on rumours in the weekend press and picked up by FT Alphaville that Axa may want to bid for it.

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