A&L makes the obvious choice

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The really important action today is in the bond market, where yields are rising again. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury hit 5.3 per cent in lunchtime trading in London.

However, in corporate news I’m suppressing a bit of a laugh at Alliance & Leicester. After an exhaustive search of internal and external candidates to succeed chief executive Richard Pym, it has decided that finance director David Bennett is the man for the job after all. One analyst today described A&L as “the Volvo of the UK banking sector”.

There are rumours that the Qataris, already the largest investors in J Sainsbury with 17.6 per cent, have lifted their holding to 21 per cent.

Well done Archie Norman! More than a year after setting up Aurigo, his private equity firm backed by Och-Ziff, he has done a deal. He is buying HSS hire shops from 3i.

Also, Norman’s old friend Allan Leighton will be in our pages tomorrow. He has dipped a toe in the private equity debate, and several other topics, in an interview today on FT.com. He said which companies succeed does not depend on the financial model but on management: “If you look at those businesses that have gone private, 80:20 works again, ie 80 per cent have been successful and 20 per cent haven’t. In my mind the reasons would be the same – management.” If you’re quick, you should still be able to post a question.

Also, check out Sir Terence Conran’s posting on FT.com in support of Philip Stephens’ remarks this week about Heathrow

One for the toy spotters: Jane’s Information Group, publisher of Jane’s Defence Weekly has been sold by the Thomson family to IHS, a business publishing and data business.

Rumour of the day: RSA shares are on the move on fresh rumours of a bid from AIG, which FT Alphaville thinks are plausible. Having fallen sharply recently, the stock is up almost 4 per cent.

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