Boots in the bag for KKR

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KKR and Stefano Pessina seem to have sewn up Alliance Boots with their £11.39-a-share dusk ‘n’ dawn raid. They now hold 25.6 per cent of the company and will have to raise their offer to the price they paid in the market. That was clearly too tough a number for Terra Firma, Wellcome Trust and HBoS to beat – they have walked away. Very interesting to see bridge equity in use here.

Today’s other big story so far is that Yell shares lost more than a fifth of their value after the Yellow Pages directories group warned that intensifying competition would hit growth in its US business.

Carphone Warehouse confirmed Andrew Parker’s story this morning that it plans to expand aggressively in the US but it has also said it expects to raise its dividend by 30 per cent next year.

Strong figures today from Primark, whose new store on Oxford Street has literally been a riotous success. These are among other decent numbers from Associated British Foods.

If fighting over discount clothes isn’t your thing, you might prefer the Financial Reporting Council’s interim report on choice in the UK audit market. Its recommendations, out today, on how to loosen the grip of the Big Four are, frankly, a bit weedy.

Whitbread continues to pre-empt private equity. It is raising £400m of debt and giving most of it to shareholders. Catch our private equity special.

Also, the story in CityAM that Pret A Manger might float looks fun so we’ll check it out. I am particularly interested as I remember breaking the news that McDonald’s was investing in the chain from a chair-lift in Davos.

Rumours of the day: Neil Hume in our markets team says Slough Estates is the biggest riser in the FTSE 100, up 2 per cent on rumours of a bid. And there is talk Greene King might spin off its brewing operations.

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