Charles Pretzlik: Deal deluge

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We are simply awash with British corporate news today. In addition to a scoop or two to go with our nice new look, we have lots of movement on cross-border deals.

Barclays has struck a deal to buy ABN Amro which has two smart new elements: the enlarged bank will now be regulated by the FSA, instead of the Dutch regulator as previously envisaged; and ABN’s US business will be sold to Bank of America for $21bn. This is a problem for RBS, which also wants to buy ABN, because BofA can surely pay more for ABN’s US business than it can. However, it’s hard to believe some of the synergies Barclays is promising. Don’t count RBS out yet.

HSBC is also considering a (much smaller) deal, according to Japanese reports which we’re checking. It apparently wants to buy two-thirds of Tokyo Star Bank from Lone Star for $1.6bn. HSBC was never very keen on Japan but last week we reported that it plans to open 50 branches there within four years.

Today, we also have BA saying it has approached a number of private equity firms about bidding for Iberia, in which it already has a 10 per cent stake.

And AstraZeneca is proposing to pay more than $15bn in cash for a US vaccines business which made $75m (that is not a typo) last year on revenues of $1.3bn. Investors don’t think much of the deal: Astra shares are off more than 3 per cent this morning. It is not clear that this business, MedImmune, does very much at all for Astra in the short term.

Lastly, as far as cross-border deals are concerned, Altadis is making life harder for its stalkers, Imperial Tobacco and the CVC-led consortium. The Franco-Spanish group has revised up its forecasts.

Oh, and we’ll tell you more about the implications of Project Spice, the plan from SABMiller and Diageo to break up Scottish & Newcastle reported on this morning by Paul Murphy of FT Alphaville.

Cadbury Schweppes is being prosecuted by Birmingham City council over the Salmonella scare last year.

Eye-watering news from Alfred McAlpine, the construction group whose long-forgotten slate business has come back to bite it hard. The fraud uncovered there is going to cost the company a whole £56m, it said today. The group finance director, Dominic Lavelle, has resigned.

After six months of talks Ladbrokes and 888 Holdings have finally decided they can’t agree a deal.

Finally, stand by tomorrow for our new-look People column. If you have any stories about people moving jobs, doing deals, distinguishing themselves or causing a stir email people@ft.com.

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