The Business: Monday May 12 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
David Cameron has spoken out against Gary Barlow after a judge ruled that the Take That star was part of a huge tax avoidance scheme. Asked about the case of Barlow, the prime minister said: “I am opposed to all aggressive tax avoidance.” Barlow is a Conservative Party supporter and an OBE. The chief secretary to the treasury, speaking of the Barlow case, said those who avoid taxes “undermine the economy, damage our public services and place an extra, unfair burden on hard-working families”.
Interest rates will rise to 0.75% from 0.5% in the first three months of 2015, predicts the CBI. The business lobby group forecasts growth of 3% this year, up from a previous estimate of 2.7%. However it warns that political uncertainty remained "a major risk to the recovery". A spokesman urged political parties to resist the temptation to offer “headline-grabbing policies that weaken investment, opportunity and jobs”.
The bank majority owned by Sir Richard Branson is on the brink of appointing advisers for a stock market listing, says the Daily Telegraph. Virgin Money is poised to appoint advisers at Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch for a flotation next year. It is expected to be valued at up to £2bn. The group bought the “good” part of the bailed-out Northern Rock in 2012. The flotation will prompt a bumper payout for shareholders.
Sir Philip Green is to return to the stock market for the first time in 26 years after striking a deal to buy a stake in a fast-growing online store. The retail billionaire will take a 25% stake in Mysale, Australia and Asia’s largest provider for online “flash” sales of clothes. It is Sir Philip’s first big deal since 2002, when he pounced for Arcadia. Green and his wife are ranked 21st in this week’s list of Britain’s billionaires, with a fortune of £3.88bn.
Carphone Warehouse and Dixons are expected this week to confirm their “merger of equals”. The two retailers are set to announce on Thursday a £3.6bn tie-up that will alter the face of British electronics retailing. The announcement follows two months of talks. The Daily Telegraph says the all-share merger will see Carphone effectively taking over Dixons, but with both companies’ market values currently around the £1.8bn mark, it will in essence be a merger.
FTSE-100: down -0.36 to 6814.57
Dow Jones: up +0.20 to 16583.34
Dax: down -0.27 to 9581.45
Cac-40: down -0.66 to 4477.28
Nikkei: down -0.12 to 14182.70
Hang Seng: up +2.18 to 22339.83
US dollar: buys €0.72640 and £0.59310
Sterling: buys $1.68610 and €1.22470
Oil: $107.94 down -0.1