Private equity groups will continue their raid on UK plc unless there is a sweeping reform of City rules to lighten the load on public companies, according to the chief executive of one of Britain’s largest asset managers.
In the first half of the year, private equity firms announced bids for UK-listed companies at the fastest pace in more than two decades, taking advantage of depressed valuations as a result of Brexit and the pandemic.
On Saturday, a trio of private investment groups led by SoftBank-owned Fortress announced a £9.5bn deal to acquire Wm Morrison, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket chain.
Peter Harrison, chief executive of Schroders, said the private markets activity was an “inevitable consequence” of the UK’s governance regime and the tax deductibility of debt. He added that the code was “written at the expense of public companies”, pointing to disclosure requirements and remuneration rules.
1. Morrisons takeover The UK grocer’s board backed a £9.5bn acquisition offer from Fortress and its partners over the weekend. The bid came two weeks after Morrisons said it had rejected an unsolicited approach from US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.
2. UK’s ‘baffling’ foreign workers bill Ministers have been accused of chaotic handling of a post-Brexit regime for recognising foreign professional qualifications. The government introduced the bill into parliament without realising which professions would fall within its scope.
3. China cracks down on Didi China’s cyber security regulator has ordered the ride-hailing giant be taken off domestic app stores over “seriously violating laws on collecting and using personal information”, days after it raised $4.4bn in the largest Chinese listing in the US since Alibaba in 2014.
4. Opec talks end in deadlock Opec and its allies failed to reach an agreement on raising oil production on Friday as talks hit a deadlock for a second day. The Opec+ group said it would reconvene by videoconference today. The meeting will be closely watched given inflationary concerns across markets.
5. Euro 2020 England secured a place in the Euro football championship semi-final for the first time since 1996 with a 4-0 victory over Ukraine. They will play Denmark, which beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in their quarter-final, at Wembley on Wednesday. Italy play Spain in the other semi-final tomorrow, also at Wembley. Follow our tournament coverage here.
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IMF, WTO and World Bank discuss Covid-19 IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva, WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and World Bank president David Malpass discuss plans for overcoming the pandemic at a virtual event hosted by the Paris Peace Forum and The One Campaign, an anti-poverty campaigning group, today. (IMF)
Andy Jassy takes over at Amazon Jeff Bezos steps down as chief executive 27 years after founding Amazon. Jassy, 53, who takes over after leading AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing arm, will receive a stock package worth more than $200m.
Economic data IHS Markit releases purchasing managers’ indices from the services industry across the eurozone and the UK. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders releases new UK car registration data.
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Binance crackdown The cryptocurrency exchange has led a peripatetic life since its founding in China four years ago. Now, regulators on three continents are clamping down as they attempt to police the porous border between the freewheeling crypto sector and the more tightly-regulated conventional financial market.
FT Film: How the 20-year war changed Afghanistan An Afghan photojournalist, a former politician, a young musician, a Nato interpreter, a female film-maker and a student whose mother was assassinated reflect on the impact of war as US troops pull out and the Taliban gains ground.
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