GlaxoSmithKline GSK

GlaxoSmithKline’s chief executive said a shareholder vote in favour of spinning off its consumer healthcare business vindicated the UK drugmaker’s decision to turn down a £50bn takeover offer from Unilever for its joint venture with Pfizer (The Financial Times £).

At a general meeting yesterday at Heathrow, 99.8% of voting investors approved the separation, which is set to take place via the listing of Haleon on the London Stock Exchange on July 18 (The Times £).

The demerger is a key plank of a turnaround strategy spearheaded by GSK boss Emma Walmsley as she tries to shift its focus towards drugs and vaccines and boost its flagging share price amid pressure from investors (The Mail).

Amazon has agreed to take a 2% stake in Grubhub, the US business of Just Eat Takeaway, as part of a wider deal with the online food delivery group (The Financial Times £).

Shares in the firm, which on Tuesday hit a new low of £11.38, jumped by 163½p, or 13.7%, to close at £13.51½ as investors suggested that the presence of the online retail behemoth on the Grubhub share register would make it more attractive to suitors (The Times £).

Just Eat expected the deal will boost its earnings from 2023 (The Mail). It added that it was continuing to explore a possible sale of Grubhub.

The competition watchdog is formally examining Amazon’s treatment of the third-party sellers that use its retail platform (The Times £).

The Competition and Markets Authority said it opened an investigation on Tuesday on concerns the US tech corporation’s practices affecting sellers on its UK marketplace may be anti-competitive and could result in a worse deal for customers (The Guardian).

It will also investigate how the retail giant collects and uses third-party seller data, including whether this gives Amazon an unfair advantage in relation to business decisions (The Telegraph).

Amazon will share more data with rivals and offer buyers a wider choice of products, as part of a deal with EU antitrust regulators that will close two of the most high-profile probes in Brussels (The Financial Times £).

Ben & Jerry’s is suing Unilever over a dispute about ice cream sales in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, further straining relations between the brand and its UK parent company (The Financial Times £).

The US ice cream company is seeking an injunction after Unilever last week announced it had sold its interest in the ice cream to Israeli licence-holder Avi Zinger, allowing Ben & Jerry’s to be stocked again in shops (The Telegraph).

The brand says it is inconsistent with its values to sell ice cream in a territory that it believes is illegally occupied by Israel (The Mail).

The Telegraph examines how Ben & Jerry’s turned sour for Unilever. “From views on UK’s ‘racist’ Rwanda plan to boycotting Israel, activism is a key ingredient.”

The value of food exports to the EU dropped by £2.4bn in the first 15 months after Brexit, according to analysis of HMRC data (The Guardian). However, overall exports, which were hit by the double whammy of Brexit red tape as well as decreased demand in hospitality due to the pandemic in 2021, recovered in the first three months of this year, the figures show.

River campaigners are calling for urgent action from Tesco to immediately raise standards within its poultry and egg suppliers in the Wye valley, as they say the river is at risk of ecological collapse (The Guardian). Campaigners say Tesco holds the key to saving the river from irreparable ecological deterioration caused by high phosphate levels from excrement produced by intensive chicken farming.

The Bank of England would do “whatever is necessary” to contain inflation, but splits on the monetary policy committee made it unhelpful to give guidance on the likely pace, scale and timing of interest rate rises, rate-setters at the central bank said on Wednesday (The Financial Times £).

Huw Pill, the central bank’s chief economist, said he was willing to adopt a “faster pace” of tightening than the Bank had implemented in the past few months (The Times £).

His comments follow an equally stark warning from Sir Jon Cunliffe, a deputy governor of the Bank, who said its monetary policy committee would “do whatever is necessary” to prevent the rocketing cost of living from becoming a lasting inflation problem (The Guardian).

English farmers count cost of changes to subsidy regime (The Financial Times £). Government says post-Brexit schemes will bring wider benefits but sector airs concern over lack of clarity.

The Lex column in The Financial Times (£) focuses on Japanese food and rising prices threaten to eat into margins. “Fruit jelly is being served in place of fresh fruit at some schools in Japan as food prices soar.”