December 13: Our main story today is that the European Court of Justice has ruled that Marks and Spencer can claim tax relief on overseas losses. Although the European Court of Justice attached some significant qualifications to its landmark judgment, the decision is likely to cost tax authorities in the UK, and other EU member states, hundreds of millions of pounds. Lawyers say the impact could even amount to billions, although much of this is likely to be spread over many years. Read about it on FT.com or read the full text of the judgement. And you can read our leader writers’ verdict on the decision in tomorrow’s FT newspaper.
Havas chairman and leading shareholder Vincent Bolloré was typically Delphic this morning about his intentions towards Aegis. He said he did not have any plan involving Aegis, where Bolloré has a stake of just over 25 per cent. And he said he had no plans to go over 30 per cent at Aegis - “for now”. If he does, City rules will require him to make an offer for the whole group. Speaking at a press conference, he said a media purchasing alliance between Havas and Aegis would be logical, but that “many other” non-Aegis merger and acquisition opportunities exist for Havas.
Vodafone has outbid four others to win control of Telsim, Turkey’s second largest mobile phone group. It is stumping up $4.55bn. Some local analysts think Vodafone is seriously overpaying. Vodafone admits it will be earnings dilutive “in the short to medium term”. Read FT.com’s first take. Vodafone shares are off 1.6 per cent.
Otherwise, we have a weak trading update from Johnston Press, which seems to have been hit by the migration to the web and confirms it is interested in looking at DMGT’s regional papers business. We also have Cadbury Schweppes trumpeting its progress on sales but still making worrying noises about margins. And Shell is going to have to spend much more than expected on drilling and exploration as costs rise.
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