Traders hope that the stalemate over the bid for Safeway will end in the short term with a bid from American venture capitalists KKR, according to The Times. The latest bookmaker prices were reported as: Wal-Mart 13-8, Philip Green 3-1, KKR 4-1, Tesco 6-1, Sainsbury/Morrisons joint bid 6-1, Morrisons 6-1, Sainsbury 12-1.

Shoppers in Northampton are about to become the first to trial a ‘chip and pin’ payment system, reported the Financial Times. The scheme, which will start this spring, will involve 1,000 shops, pubs, hotels, restaurants and petrol stations.

The Co-op will merge its five travel businesses to create a £1.1bn buying and marketing group. The five businesses have agreed to form the Co-operative Travel Trading Group (CTTG), which will run more than 600 travel outlets, reported The Times.

Allied Domecq is considering an informal approach to Southcorp, Australia’s biggest wine maker, reported the Sunday Telegraph.

Entrepreneur Hugh Osmond will unveil a £5.7bn bid for Six Continents said the Sunday Times, while The Observer reported that US venture capital firms KKR and Blackstone had joined forces for a £8bn bid for the hotel, pub and restaurant group.

Icelandic retailer Baugur has acquired a 2% stake in Mothercare to add to its interests which include Big Food Group and Somerfield, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Marks and Spencer has hired designer Terence Conran to help renew its assault on the £30bn home furnishings market, reported the Daily Telegraph.

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