April 20: BA’s cheap flight challenge

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April 20:British Airways is taking on the low-cost airlines by cutting fares by up to 50 per cent on short-haul flights to 65 European destinations. The airline is also making tickets much more flexible. Easyjet shares are off about 3 per cent but, strangely, Ryanair shares are virtually unchanged. One of my favourite gossip websites, the Professional Pilots Rumour Network, has yet to warm up on this. Come on guys: is this a gimmick? Will it make any difference to Easyjet and Ryanair? Tell us.

Debenhams has published its intention to float announcement. Having obtained a draft prospectus last week and written it up thoroughly for Saturday, we need to look for a fresh angle. We’ll look at whether this company is worth investing in – I’m not so sure it is, but don’t take my word for it, read Lex online– and we’ll tell you how the private equity owners will have made four times their money in two and a half years.

Brutal goings on at Misys, the financial and healthcare software group run by Kevin Lomax. It has parted company with Steve Vaughan, the head of its banking business, just one month after he joined. The company says “material differences” over the future of the division emerged between Vaughan and the Misys board. He leaves immediately and without any compensation. Lomax’s praise of Vaughan in last month’s press releases trumpeting his arrival now makes for amusing reading.

Prudential has published strong Q1 sales figures, helping to support its decision to rebuff Aviva’s takeover approach. We also have a good trading update from EMI, lifting its shares 7 per cent.

Quite a few M&A-related rumours about. Talk that Ferrovial might increase its bid for BAA by less than people had hoped weighed on the stock. There are also some suggestions that Goldman may lead an improved approach to Associated British Ports.

BAE Systems and VT Group have been given a deadline of May 18 by which they must make a bid for Babcock International or walk away.

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