A bid could be in the offing for Tesco Lotus

Media Bites 10 February: Tesco, David Cameron, Co-op Pharmacy

The Tesco sell off continues as news emerges of a potential multi-billion pound bid by one of Thailand’s richest men for the retailer’s business in the country. The Telegraph says Dhanin Chearavanont is understood to have been rebuffed by Tesco following an approach in December but is now considering making another offer. Tesco Lotus has more than 1,700 stores and has been one of the supermarket’s most successful overseas ventures. (The Telegraph)

All the papers cover David Cameron’s speech at British Chambers of Commerce where he aims to emphasise the difference between the Tories and Labour in their approach to business. He will urge Britain’s bosses at the BCCC conference later today to share the spoils of the economic recovery by handing wage rises to their workers. “Put simply — it’s time Britain had a pay rise,” Cameron will say. The approach is in contrast to Labour and Ed Miliband, who have attacked business for failing to reward employees. (The Times £) (Guardian) (BBC)

A study which has concluded that guidelines warning people to avoid eating fatty foods such as butter and cheese should not have been introduced also gets plenty of coverage today. Followed by millions since being introduced in the UK in 1983, the dietary advice around fat consumption shouldn’t have been issued as they “lacked any solid scientific evidence”, researchers writing in the journal Open Heart have claimed. (The Guardian) (The Times £)

The Telegraph reports that the Co-operative Pharmacy brand is set to vanish from the high street after more than 70 years as part of a £200m revamp by its new owners. The 780 Co-operative Pharmacy stores will be relaunched under the name Well following the £620m takeover of the pharmacies by Bestway Group last year. (The Telegraph)

Retailers benefitted from health-conscious shoppers in January as New Year resolutions pushed up sales of fresh fruit and exercise equipment, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium. However, the figures showed shops continued to rely on widespread discounting to lure in consumers. (Guardian)

Investors in Unilever may be turning on CEO Paul Polman for caring more about sustainability than the consumer goods giant’s bottom line, according to the FT. Polman said last month that “a purpose-driven business can be profitable” and he would use Unilever’s size and scale to lobby global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos for a binding agreement on climate change and the eradication of world poverty. However, some investors are worried he has started to care more about the environment than them. (The Financial Times £)

The Daily Mail has shed some light on the Ball Corporation’s use of tax havens. The US drinks can manufacturer is currently in the middle of £4.3bn takeover talks for London-listed Rexam. However, the newspaper has asked how good a deal this would be for the UK economy considering the US company has almost one third of its subsidiaries based in countries or jurisdictions renowned for being tax shelters. (The Daily Mail)