The food industry has urged ministers to put all non-Brexit related reforms on hold until after Britain leaves the EU because its members are too busy planning for no deal to take part in consultations (The Telegraph). The government has been asked to pause as a matter of “great urgency” consultations on all food, farming and environment issues because Brexit is choking the capacity of businesses to respond to Michael Gove’s plans (The Guardian). More than 30 groups from across the food and drink industry have asked the government to suspend work on a swath of reforms from recycling to forest protection, arguing that its members have to focus on contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit (The Financial Times £). Britain’s food industry has threatened to suspend its co-operation with a swathe of government consultations until the “catastrophic impact of a no-deal Brexit” is resolved, bosses have warned the environment secretary, Michael Gove (Sky News).
Asda and Sainsbury’s proposed £14billion merger is to be scrutinised by watchdogs for an additional two months (The Daily Mail). As widely expected, the Competition and Markets Authority has delayed the deadline for its final report on the £12bn Sainsbury’s/Asda transaction from March 5 to April 30 (The Times £). The Competition and Markets Authority said there were special reasons why the original March 5 deadline had been pushed back to April 30, citing the “scope and complexity of the investigation” (The Telegraph). The delay had been widely expected after a legal tussle between the two companies and the CMA last December, in which Sainsbury’s and Asda argued they had been given insufficient time to respond to requests for documentation (The Financial Times £)
The American hedge fund agitating for an overhaul at Just Eat has turned up the heat on the takeaway delivery group, demanding that it seeks a merger with a rival rather than appointing a new chief executive (The Times £). US activist investor has ratcheted up the pressure on Just Eat, issuing a withering attack on executives that demands handing control to a rival through a delivery mega-merger (The Telegraph). Just Eat has again come under fire from 2 per cent shareholder Cat Rock Capital, which has called for a merger and complained about recent board appointments (The Daily Mail).
The FT says Cat Rock’s suggestion the takeaway food group merge with Takeaway.com is a bite too far. “Why would anyone suggest a merger with a smaller European counterpart offering no obvious synergies, simply to address concerns over an executive search that has only been running three weeks?” (The Financial Times £)
The British-born chief executive of toothpaste maker Colgate-Palmolive is leaving the position after almost 12 years, in the latest changing of the guard at the world’s largest consumer goods companies. (The Financial Times £)
The recent collapse of a raft of high street firms and the downsizing of other retailers mean that nearly 15,000 jobs were lost and over 4,000 remain at risk since Christmas, new analysis has showed. (The Daily Mail)
British tobacco company Imperial Brands will begin its search for a new chairman amid concerns about the incumbent’s length of tenure exceeding government guidelines (The Financial Times £). Imperial Brands is searching for a new non-executive chairman after confirming that Mark Williamson will step down after 11 years on the board (The Times £).
13 years after the sport banned tobacco advertising amid tightening international regulation, one of the world’s biggest tobacco manufacturers has returned to Formula One. British American Tobacco and McLaren, the Woking-based team, yesterday unveiled a global partnership on the eve of the 2019 championship. (The Times £)
The Guardian has an in-depth investigation into Heineken’s business in Africa, asking if the brewer’s claims that its business helps Africa are too good to be true amid accusations of sexual harassment and low pay. (The Guardian)
Palm oil used in supermarket products is not fully traceable despite it being called “100% certified sustainable”. Research by Radio 4’s You & Yours found Tesco performed the best, yet only 67% of its palm oil can be traced to its source. (The BBC)