Tesco is expected to play a pivotal role in the rescue of embattled wholesaler Palmer & Harvey as the UK’s competition regulator probes what the supermarket’s takeover of Booker could mean for its fortunes, writes The Telegraph.
P&H has been scrambling for cash since the summer and is now in takeover talks with private equity firm Carlyle and Brookfield Business Partners. However, any new owner is thought to want a commitment from Tesco to extend its distribution agreement with Palmer & Harvey. P&H already agreed a three-year contract in April with Tesco, however the future of that relationship is being scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority which is investigating the supermarket’s takeover of rival Booker. (The Telegraph)
The Times (£) looks at the companies on Kraft Heinz’s shopping list as the deal-hungry cost-cutter behind the failed Unilever bid needs a big acquisition to boost revenues. City sources see five credible options. The soap-to-toothpaste group Colgate-Palmolive is considered most likely. Mondelez, the $40bn owner of Cadbury and formerly part of Kraft, could be on the radar. General Mills and Kellogg’s are contenders. (The Times £)
Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe is interviewed in The Daily Mail, commenting on the importance of getting a Brexit deal that works for the industry, including “Making sure there is a way for seasonal workers to come to the UK is important for the supply chain”. “It’s very important we maintain food production and get the right deal,’ he says. (The Daily Mail)
Reckitt Benckiser’s biggest shareholder JAB Holdings has cut its stake in the British consumer group, which has suffered a recent series of setbacks amid analyst worries that it will miss its sales forecast this year. (The Financial Times £)
The posh burger chain Byron has drafted in City advisers as it prepares to close sites and cut costs, amid a waning appetite for gourmet patties. Sources said that the 70-strong chain, owned by private equity firm Hutton Collins, has enlisted the advisory firm KPMG in recent weeks to work on a “cash management” plan, including shedding unprofitable sites. (The Times £)
Multinational food and drink companies have “cheated and misled” shoppers in eastern Europe for years by selling them inferior versions of well-known brands, according to the European commission’s most senior official responsible for justice and consumers. (The Guardian)
A pet shop chain with 25 stores across England will go into administration, bosses have announced. Just for Pets, which runs the bulk of its shops in the Midlands, has been making a loss, its owners Wynnstay said in a statement. Changes in buying behaviour, competition and greater cost pressures were blamed for the company’s demise. (The BBC)
After more than a century of life and years of losses, Harrods is finally closing the doors of its only bank branch. The department store, which is preparing to offload the business to a start-up lender, has sent letters to personal and business customers telling them to move their accounts. (The Times £)
The UK’s debt-laden pub giants are beginning to struggle because of a squeeze on earnings and rising costs, according to an industry stress test by ratings agency Moody’s. (The Telegraph)
The Guardian looks at how the shift to buying toys online has placed “childhood favourites” in peril. The news that Toys R Us, the world’s biggest toy retailer, could be facing bankruptcy followed hot on the heels of the announcement from Lego, the world’s most profitable toy manufacturer, that the first half of this year had seen it suffer the first fall in global sales for more than a decade. (The Guardian)
Brexit fears fail to stem the rising tide of debt, writes The Times (£) as a granular analysis of lending data reveals how credit is propping up the economy.