July 13: Trouble for Eurotunnel

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July 13: The collapse of Eurotunnel’s restructuring talks overnight is today’s best British corporate story, although the competition is strong.

Exactly what happens next is anyone’s guess: Eurotunnel consists of a British company and a French one; they operate under rules agreed in the treaty of Canterbury; the loan agreements are subject to English law; and Eurotunnel has sought protection from its creditors in a French court under a law only introduced in 2005 and which almost nobody understands. Robert Wright will guide you through all this in tomorrow’s paper as he tries to predict what happens next, lucky chap. He will also explain how Eurotunnel’s management miscalculated and tell you who the winners might be. Among the bloggers, Nick Colbourne, a councillor in north Wales, believes part of the company’s problem is that its services are too expensive. “I’d swim it before I paid Eurotunnel’s prices!” he writes.

EMI shares are off sharply on news that Europe’s second-highest court has annulled the European Commission’s approval of the 2004 merger that created Sony BMG. It will have come as a big surprise to EMI, which had banked on its merger with Warner Music getting past Brussels this time. As Lex discusses, it raises all sorts of questions about the viability of the takeover plan.

Terrible news from Emap, the media group. Just as it seemed to have put the worst behind it by selling off its French magazines business, it turns out that other parts of the group are also struggling, particularly lads’ mags and automotive titles. The dire profit warning knocked 13 per cent off the shares.

Aviva has announced its takeover of AmerUs, as predicted, for $2.9bn. To pay for it, Aviva is raising £900m through a placing.

I will be on holiday now until July 31, so I’m afraid there won’t be a blog until then.

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