May 17: Xstrata’s big deal, LME’s plans

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May 17: The big deal in London, of course, is Xstrata’s C$16bn bid for the 80 per cent of Falconbridge that the UK-listed miner does not already own. This trumps the existing offer made for the Canadian nickel miner from Inco and Lex is online explaining it all beautifully.

However, what I remain much more interested in are the plans by the London Metal Exchange to turn itself into a profit-making organisation with easily-tradeable shares. As we wrote this morning, this would pave the way for a float or eventually a sale. The details are quite complex but Kevin Morrison will take you through them, and the peculiarities of this market, tomorrow.

The recovery at J Sainsbury continues: underlying pre-tax profits and sales grew strongly last year, even if rising energy costs are hurting. This has knocked the stock 3½ per cent today but the fundamental story is a good one.

Less good news at Next: Simon Wolfson told the retailer’s annual meeting today that first half underlying sales would be at the bottom end of analysts’ expectations – something close to a drop of 6 per cent. David Jones bowed out as chairman at the meeting – read Beth Rigby’s terrific interview with one of Britain’s leading businessmen.

Jean-Pierre Garnier has extended his term as chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline. He was to have stepped down in October next year, when he turns 60, but will now stick around for another year. It was only September that Sir Christopher Gent, GSK’s chairman, said he was considering four internal candidates as potential successors. Perhaps none of them was up to it. Or perhaps Gent just knows how to keep a CEO on his toes.

For tomorrow’s paper, we also have another package planned about one of the hot new areas for hedge funds and some great reporting on the secret plans of a British retailer.

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