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February 9: Tesco is to enter the US by rolling out convenience stores on the West Coast. The market is a little nervous – the experience of Sainsbury’s and M&S in the US is not encouraging and Tesco itself has found some of its international expansion hard going – but this is misplaced. You only have to spend two minutes with Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco’s chief executive, to know that this venture will have been meticulously planned. He’s probably had mystery shoppers Rollerblading around Santa Monica since the mid-90s. The initial plan is for Tesco to invest £250m a year in the US.
Baugur has confirmed it holds 6.2 per cent of Woolworths. It’s hard to read the significance of this with any certainty. The stock hasn’t moved much today but has been rising over the last few days as rumours of Baugur’s stake building circulated.
The Competition Commission has published its draft ruling on the LSE which, as expected, says any bidder for the London Stock Exchange will have to ensure the independence of the clearing system. LSE shares are up a touch.
BT has produced some strong third quarter figures, thanks to strong demand for broadband in the UK. Strong figures from BG Group, which is raising its dividend by almost 60 per cent, reinforcing the trend for companies to return cash to their shareholders. ICI, which published unexciting annual results today, is considering selling its Uniqema oleochemicals business.
Unilever is selling its European frozen foods business, including Birds Eye.
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