Tesco gets some heavy coverage this weekend ahead of its latest annual results on Wednesday. The Telegraph on Saturday featured research by the Local Data Company that found Peterborough is set to become the unlikely battleground for Tesco’s multi-billion pound Booker as the competition watchdog decides whether the deal will hand the pair too much power over the grocery industry. The Mail on Sunday look ahead to the results and writes that Tesco will this week seek to draw a line under its accounting disaster claiming a dramatic improvement in its relationship with suppliers as well as a sharp upturn in profits.
The Sunday Express says it understand that the Competition and Markets Authority will launch a formal investigation into the deal, which was announced at the end of January, once it has completed its information gathering exercise. Sources told the paper that Tesco is bracing itself for the CMA to intervene and order the disposal of One Stop as part of a package of remedial measures.
The Sunday Times examines analyst expectations for Tesco and writes the supermarket will try to brush off weakness in its international division and focus on overall profit growth this week, as it attempts to win support for its takeover of Booker. Tesco is to report a return to financial health after a £6.4bn loss two years ago, The Observer says. The retailer is set to announce a bigger-than-expected jump in profits. A ‘Business Agenda’ piece in The Observer says if its deferred prosecution agreement with the SFO gets the nod this week, Tesco can focus on becoming a consistently profitable company again.
Unilever continues to generate interest from the papers as speculation remains rife about its next big move after the failed Kraft Heinz takeover attempt. The Telegraph has an interview with CEO Paul Polman on why he didn’t get angry when Kraft Heinz came to call, and why he’ll still keep talking about sustainability. The Times Tempus shares column reckons Unilever’s next move could be a big deal. The Financial Times takes the view that an unequivocal defence of investment over cost cutting is needed to defend the UK’s next hostile takeover bid.
The Sunday Telegraph puts Schwartz spices maker McCormick in the race to buy French’s mustard and Frank’s hot sauce from Reckitt Benckiser after its failed tilt at Premier Foods last year.
Punk craft brewer BrewDog has sold a 22% to US private equity house TSG Consumer Partners for £213m. The Observer writes that early investors in the business will be able to bank a hefty profit this week. The Sunday Times reports that BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie could pocket as much as £100m after selling the stake. The Sunday Telegraphsays that Watt has refuted suggestions that the TSG investment would damage BrewDog’s outsider image. The Times points out this morning that the 55,000 smaller shareholders who supported the Scottish company over four equity crowdfunding rounds are being restricted in how much of their stakes they can sell.
Associated British Foods has kicked off a search for a new chairman, Sky News reveals. The Primark owner has appointed headhunter Spencer Stuart to identify a successor to Charles Sinclair, who has led the company for eight years.
Dried fruits and nuts supplier Whitworths has been put up for sale by private equity owner Equistone, according to The Telegraph.
Piccolo, which makes organic baby food, has attracted an investment of just over £1m from two first-time angel investors (The Sunday Times).
Graze chief executive Anthony Fletcher tells The Mail that the snacks-by-post business is ‘very lucky’, with so much uncertainty around Brexit, that half of its revenues come from the US.