Harris Associates, the US investment fund that has been one of Tesco's biggest and most loyal shareholders, has sold almost two thirds of its stake because it thinks the supermarket group has become too risky, the Sunday Telegraph reported. David Herro, Harris's chief executive, said there were too many "unknowns" surrounding Tesco and that he wanted to hear what Dave Lewis, the new chief executive, planned for the group.
Tesco has given Dave Lewis, its new Chief Executive, a "blank sheet" to decide the company's future, the Sunday Times said. He is likely to cut prices in the UK, assess peripheral businesses such as Blink-box and Tesco Bank, and consider a listing or partial sale of the Asian business.
Liberty Global is seeking the support of big ITV shareholders, suggesting that the US company is considering a bid for the UK broadcaster, the Sunday Telegraph said. Liberty, which owns 6.4% of ITV, is said to be seeking a stronger position in future talks with ITV's board by building relations with US fund managers that own shares
of the UK company. Liberty is trying to gain support for a bid at a modest premium to ITV's share price, which is at its highest since the dotcom crash.
Top shareholders of GlaxoSmithKline want the early departure of Chairman Sir Chris Gent, the Sunday Times said. Gent has said he will leave the drug company next year but with the company hit by a corruption scandal in China and the share price suffering, the investors want Gent to go this year. They are considering approaching Glaxo's Senior Independent Director, Sir Deryck Maughan, about the matter.
An activist investor has increased its stake in NBNK Investments and wants the investment vehicle to sue Lloyds Banking Group over the sale process for its TSB business, the Sunday Telegraph said. Crystal Amber owns almost 28% of NBNK, which was set up to buy banking assets. NBNK tried to buy Lloyds's TSB business but was rejected in favour of the Co-operative Bank, whose bid fell apart. Crystal Amber wants NBNK to sue Lloyds to recover its costs from the sale process.
RAC intends to include a retail offering when it launches its stock market flotation in the next few weeks, the Sunday Telegraph reported. The roadside recovery business is ready to announce a stock market offering valuing it at about £2bn, though its private equity owner Carlyle has also sounded out other buyout firms on whether they are interested in buying RAC.
Hargreaves Lansdown is close to announcing it will apply for a full banking licence, the Mail on Sunday reported, citing Morgan Stanley analysts. The analysts estimate that the investment company oversees £3.8bn of client money but without a banking licence it has to place the funds with other banks. Hargreaves could announce the planned application, which would let it pay better rates of interest on clients' cash, with its annual results on September 3rd.
Afren, the oil explorer, is considering chasing its suspended Chief Executive, Osman Shahenshah, and other top managers for tens of millions of dollars of alleged "unauthorised payments" discovered in an investigation into its Nigerian business, the Sunday Times said. The company suspended Shahenshah last month along with operations chief Shahid Ullah over payments they allegedly received from a third party.
Crystal Amber, an activist investor, has built a stake in Aer Lingus and wants the Irish airline to limit payments to cut the deficit in its pension scheme, the Sunday Times said. With almost 3% of Aer Lingus shares, Crystal Amber is the biggest investor in the company behind Ryanair and Etihad, the Gulf airline. It said the €191m Aer Lingus recently paid into the retirement fund for Irish airline staff was "the absolute limit" for shareholders.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is set to pave the way for a big stimulus programme to stop the Eurozone entering a deflationary spiral, the Sunday Times said. With Japan-style price falls close, economists think the ECB could use its 4 September monetary policy meeting to confirm the purchase of between €50bn and €5200bn of bank loans to boost lending and the economy.
Crossrider, an advertising business backed by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, is planning a London listing that will value it at about $250m, according to the Sunday Times. The company collects data to match on-line advertisers with internet surfers.