An American investment giant is plotting a £5bn takeover of Motor Fuel Group, Britain’s biggest independent operator of petrol forecourts. Fortress Investment Group is drawing up plans to bid for MFG after losing out in a hotly contested auction of Wm Morrison, the supermarket chain, last year. (Sky News)
Activist investor Carl Icahn has launched a highly unusual board fight at McDonald’s to demand the fast-food chain end the practice of keeping pregnant pigs in its supply chain confined in small crates (The Financial Times £). A row over the treatment of pigs by McDonald’s is escalating as Carl Icahn, an unhappy billionaire investor, fronts two nominations to its board. Icahn has proposed that Leslie Samuelrich and Maisie Ganzler stand for election at the 2022 annual meeting, a statement by the fast food giant said (The BBC).
Demand for fuel and home improvement items helped retail sales in Great Britain rebound more than expected in January to post the largest monthly increase since the reopening of non-essential stores last April (The Financial Times £). Retail sales exceeded pre-pandemic levels in January as the threat from the Omicron variant faded (The Times £). Retail sales rebounded in January as shoppers returned to the high street after the disruption caused by the Omicron coronavirus variant eased (The Guardian). Retail sales rebounded in January after falling in December, posting their biggest monthly rise since the shops reopened last spring (Sky News).
Retail investors in a vegan food start-up stand to lose £2m after Livia’s Health Foods, a snack brand stocked in supermarkets including Tesco, was sold following a Covid-induced drop in sales. Founded in 2014 by social media star Olivia Wollenberg, Livia’s was forced to appoint administrators this year and on Friday was bought by the investment firm S-Ventures. (The Times £)
The chief executive of Pret A Manger insisted the sandwich chain’s plans to double in size were intact, despite having to increase a debt facility to £200m (The Times £). Pret a Manger has fired a fresh warning shot over its future as it races to delay debt repayments following two years of lockdown turmoil (The Telegraph).
Rival lottery operators are gearing up for a legal challenge if — as they expect — Camelot is awarded the contract to run Britain’s national lottery for a fourth successive term, arguing the tendering system discriminates against new entrants. (The Financial Times £)
Glaxo Smith Kline will outline how it plans to secure lucrative new sales for its standalone consumer business by making prescription drugs available over the counter. The pharma giant will face investors at a capital markets day on February 28 when it is expected to explain how a key area of sales growth will come from drugs previously only available via prescription. (The Times £)
Beauty suppliers to THG are restricting the flow of stock to Matthew Moulding’s online retail empire over concerns it is too aggressively discounting to hit sales target. (The Telegraph)
Nearly 1,500 food producers will meet at the National Farmers’ Union’s annual conference this week to discuss the “blueprint for the future” of British farming, against the backdrop of the biggest upheaval in a generation in agriculture, following the UK’s departure from the EU and the pandemic, and amid discussions about future land use in the face of the climate crisis. (The Guardian)
London-listed Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, a medicinal cannabis company backed by rapper Snoop Dogg, is under attack from its co-founder who is trying to oust the majority of the board including his former business partner. (The Times £)