Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
1. Two of the world’s biggest private equity groups have joined forces to assemble a knockout takeover bid for the £6bn Unilever division which houses the Flora margarine brand. Sky News reports that Clayton Dubilier & Rice and B ain Capital have begun working together on an offer for the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group’s spreads business, which it has outlined plans to offload.
2. Britain’s car industry has been given a “vote of confidence” by BMW, the Government said after the German automotive giant announced it will build an all-electric version of the Mini in the UK, reports the Telegraph. BMW said from 2019 a fully electric “Mini E” will roll off the production lines at its Oxford plant which is the historic home of the iconic car, easing concerns about the impact of Brexit.
3. The chief executive of Virgin Money has used a post-results slide in its stock market valuation to top up her shareholding in the challenger bank, according to Sky News. Jayne-Anne Gadhia reportedly acquired approximately £100,000-worth of Virgin Money shares as they fell almost 9% during Tuesday’s trading session.
4. Amazon plans to massively expand the number of people it employs in research and development across London, reports the Independent. The Seattle-based e-retail behemoth, which on Tuesday opened its new London office, said that it would be doubling the capacity of its development centre in the city from 450 to 900.
5. Over half a billion dollars were poured into British financial technology companies in the first half of 2017, over a third more than the same period last year, trade body Innovate Finance said on Wednesday, in the latest sign the fast-growing sector is so far weathering Brexit. Reuters reports that UK-based fintech startups pulled in $US564 million of venture capital investment in the first six months of the year, more than half of which came from outside Britain.
6. US President Donald Trump reiterated his desire to do a trade deal with the United Kingdom shortly after it leaves the European Union, calling the bloc “very protectionist with the U.S” in a tweet sent on Tuesday afternoon. The president tweeted: “Working on major Trade Deal with the United Kingdom. Could be very big & exciting. JOBS! The E.U. is very protectionist with the U.S. STOP!”
7. Asian stocks edged up early on Wednesday after Wall Street indexes notched record highs, while the dollar was steady as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s policy decision later in the day for more clues on its tightening plans, Reuters reports. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.1%, drawing support after the S&P 500 climbed to an all-time high overnight on well-received results from McDonald’s and Caterpillar in addition to bank share gains.
8. Factories are increasing production at the fastest rate in 22 years, according to a closely watched survey that suggests manufacturing may provide a boost for the economy as the dominant services sector begins to slow, the Times reports. A CBI survey showed manufacturers were recording the highest growth in output since the mid-1990s, especially among food and drink manufacturers, prompting the strongest hiring spree in three years.
9. The Guardian newspape has developed plans to erect a paywall around its website and apps if its existing membership scheme and appeals for donations do not meet financial targets amid upheaval in the news market, according to the Telegraph. It is understood that the publisher has called in consultants to work on the details of compulsory subscription charges for some material, despite the growth of voluntary contributions. The proposals are “finished and ready to go”, a source said.
10. TV presenter Noel Edmonds has increased his compensation claim against Lloyds Banking Group to £300m after he fell victim to fraud at the hands of former HBOS Reading staff, reports the Guardian. The former Deal Or No Deal host had originally been seeking in the region of £50m to £70m, but a new statement issued by Edmonds confirms the claim has been ramped up substantially.