Sainsbury's takeover speculation deepens as Bestway extends stake - latest updates

  • In Business
  • 2023-02-01 09:12:54Z
  • By The Telegraph
Bestway has increased its stake in Sainsbury
Bestway has increased its stake in Sainsbury's days after its investment in the supermarket first emerged - Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

The billionaire cash and carry tycoons behind Bestway bought 20 million more Sainsbury's shares shortly after announcing a major stake last Friday, according to a stock market filing on Tuesday.

Bestway has taken its shareholding in Britain's second-biggest supermarket from 3.5pc to 4.5pc.

The disclosure follows revelations by the Telegraph last week that a top executive at Bestway first discussed a takeover swoop for Sainsbury's some 10 months ago.

Bestway, founded by Pakistani-born Sir Anwar Pervez in 1976 and still in family hands, insisted on Friday that it had no plans to make an offer.

The Bestway Group has grown through a series of acquisitions since its launch nearly half a century ago.

One of those was convenience store chain Costcutter, which was founded by prominent Yorkshire businessman Colin Graves, the former chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Mr Graves told the Telegraph that he came up with the suggestion to buy Sainsbury's during a discussion with Bestway Wholesale managing director Dawood Pervez last year.

Read the latest updates below.

11:36 AM

Rail union receives new pay offer

Rail union the RMT, whose members are among those on strike today and on Friday, has received a new pay offer from Network Rail.

11:35 AM

Pakistan's inflation rises to 48-year high

As the Bank of England ponders its next interest rate move in a bid to bring down rampantly rising prices, policymakers will be glad they are not facing the task in front of Pakistan.

Inflation has risen to a 48-year high in the crisis-hit country, where the International Monetary Fund is visiting for urgent talks.

Inflation in January was recorded at 27.55pc, the highest since May 1975, with thousands of containers of imports held up at Karachi port, according to data released by Pakistan's statistics bureau.

Its economy is in dire straits, stricken by a balance of payments crisis while it attempts to service high amounts of external debt.

The world's fifth-biggest population has less than $3.7bn (£3bn) in the state bank - enough to cover just three weeks of imports.

On Tuesday, an IMF delegation arrived in Islamabad to revive negotiations over a stalled bailout package with the government, which has so far held out from meeting the global lender's tough conditions.

Prices are surging in Pakistan - BILAWAL ARBAB/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Prices are surging in Pakistan - BILAWAL ARBAB/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock  

11:22 AM

Big Telecoms advertising venture set to win regulator's approval

Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone's plan to set up an advertising joint venture to compete with Big Tech is set to win unconditional approval from EU competition authorities, according to Reuters.

The joint venture marks the telecoms sector's first attempt to take on Meta and Alphabet's Google in the lucrative online advertising sector and diversify their revenue streams.

10:59 AM

Free-range eggs may soon disappear as bird flu continues

Chickens and hens across Britain may have to stay indoors until the spring as the nation's worst-ever bird flu outbreak continues.

While risk levels are reviewed weekly, the UK's chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said today that housing orders in place since November in England may not lift until spring, when wild birds that carry the virus migrate elsewhere.

That means free-range eggs - which typically account for more than half of supply - could soon be off the shelves.

The UK allows producers to keep the label for 16 weeks after housing orders are in place.

That runs out near the end of February. Flu case counts have dropped from October, but the chance of infection remains "very high," Ms Middlemiss said.

She said: "We're seeing less outbreaks, which is great, but the risk is still there. There's a balance between bird welfare and the bird-flu risk level, and we have to look at what that balance is."

Free range egg farmer Alaistaire Brice of Havensfield Happy Hens has had to quarantine his bird - David Rose for the Telegraph
Free range egg farmer Alaistaire Brice of Havensfield Happy Hens has had to quarantine his bird - David Rose for the Telegraph  

10:40 AM

Eurozone inflation eases for third month to 8.5pc

Europe's inflation rate dipped at the start of the year, giving some relief to consumers but still leaving them facing higher prices.

The consumer price index for the 20 countries that use the euro currency fell to 8.5pc in January from a year earlier, European Union statistics agency Eurostat said today. That is after annual inflation hit 9.2pc in December.

It's the first report on consumer prices that includes data from Croatia, which joined the eurozone on Jan. 1.

Inflation in Europe has now slowed for the third month in a row, falling from a record high of 10.6pc in October.

Food and energy prices, which have been major factors driving up European inflation, kept fuelling the higher cost of living.

Natural gas prices have fallen from all-time highs last summer thanks to a scramble to find supplies outside Russia and mild winter weather that took the pressure off energy demand for heating.

10:29 AM

Record sum spent in Premier League January transfer window

Premier League clubs spent a record £815m in a frantic January transfer window - nearly double the previous highest figure, according to sports finance experts Deloitte.

Deals came thick and fast in the final hours of the window on Tuesday, with big-spending Chelsea setting a new British record in signing Argentina's World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez from Benfica for £106.8m.

The gross spend was 90pc higher than the previous record £430m in 2018 and almost triple the previous January window.

Chelsea broke the British transfer record by signing Enzo Fernandez, who won the Best Young Player award at the Qatar World Cup - REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Chelsea broke the British transfer record by signing Enzo Fernandez, who won the Best Young Player award at the Qatar World Cup - REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach  

10:16 AM

Manufacturing recovers slightly but remains in downturn

The UK's manufacturing sector recovered somewhat from its worst performance in over two years last month, according to an influential survey.

The S&P Global/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI scored 47 in January, up from 45.3 in December.

December's score had been a 31-month low for the sector. Anything below 50 on the index means that the sector is contracting.

The downturn in eurozone manufacturing activity eased again last month as price pressures slackened and the fall in demand moderated, driving a surge in optimism.

The region's PMI climbed to a five-month high of 48.8 in January from December's 47.8, in line with a preliminary reading but still below the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.

10:08 AM

Paypal boss calls for 'compassion' - as he sacks 2,000 staff

The chief executive of PayPal has called for "compassion for each other" as the tech company joined its peers in sacking thousands of staff.

Senior technology reporter Matthew Field has the details:

Read how morale at tech companies has been plummeting after mass layoffs.

Dan Schulman said staff leaving would be treated with the ‘utmost respect and empathy’ - Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph
Dan Schulman said staff leaving would be treated with the ‘utmost respect and empathy’ - Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph  

09:22 AM

Oil ticks higher ahead of Fed and Opec+ meetings

Oil has edged higher before the Federal Reserve monetary policy decision and guidance from producer cartel Opec and its allies.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, has risen by 0.4pc towards $86, while US-produced West Texas Intermediate rose 0.6pc above $79 a barrel after gaining more than 1pc on Tuesday.

While the US central bank is expected to deliver another interest-rate hike at today's meeting, it is likely to be just half the size of the 50-basis-point move agreed in December as inflation shows signs of cooling.

Traders will also track any guidance from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies including Moscow.

Delegates predict that output will be held steady at a monitoring meeting today ahead of a fresh round of curbs on Russian energy flow that will kick in within days.

08:53 AM

Gas prices slip as storage levels hold up

European natural gas prices have fluctuated as traders weighed colder weather approaching next week against ample supplies.

Benchmark futures advanced as much as 6pc this morning before erasing gains.

Temperatures will drop below normal from Rome to Berlin and Stockholm next week, according to forecaster Maxar, though are generally expected to be milder than usual for the rest of the month.

The short-term cold spell signals the possibility of heavier withdrawals from the continent's gas storage sites, though inventories are still almost 73pc full and well above average levels of the last five years.

Dutch front-month futures, Europe's gas benchmark, were down 0.6pc at €57 a megawatt-hour.

08:31 AM

Markets rise after strong corporate results

Stock markets inched higher after a slate of positive corporate updates, although the mood was tempered by concerns about a slowing British economy and upcoming monetary policy decisions.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 gained 0.2pc to 7,786.21, while the midcap FTSE 250 index climbed 0.5pc to 19,942.74.

Entain climbed 2.7pc after the gambling firm raised its annual profit forecast.

ITV rose 3pc after Reuters reported veteran Hollywood producer Peter Chernin and French TV production group Banijay's parent had expressed interest in the British broadcaster.

Darktrace shares added 1.9pc after the cybersecurity firm announced share buybacks, a day after a short-seller report knocked its shares by as much as 10pc.

Housing stocks fell 0.4pc as data showed British house prices dropped by a bigger-than-expected 0.6pc in January and are now 3.2pc below their peak in August, following a surge in borrowing costs.

08:11 AM

Ladbrokes owner Entain reports 'record' active customers after World Cup

Entain, the gambling giant behind Ladbrokes and Coral, has raised it earnings guidance after a strong final quarter of 2022.

The sports betting and gaming group said net gaming revenues increased by 11pc in the quarter to December 31, compared with a year earlier, as it witnessed a "record" number of active customers.

The group said this was buoyed by a "successful men's World Cup", although this was slightly offset by disruption to sports fixtures from cold weather and heavy winds.

Entain said earnings for 2022 were "ahead of expectations" and are now due to be within a range of between £985 million and £995 million for the year.

Ladbrokes owner Entain ended last year strongly - Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Ladbrokes owner Entain ended last year strongly - Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images  

08:04 AM

Markets mixed at the open

Markets were mixed at the open as data showed falling house prices and investors hold back as they await interest rate decisions from the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.3pc to 7,793.28 while the FTSE 250 was flat at 19,857.66.

08:01 AM

Snap reports first ever flat set of revenues

Snap shares fell 16pc in extended trading in the US as it reported its first ever flat quarter of revenues.

It comes despite Snap persuading more than 2 million users to pay for special features on its Snapchat social-media app, known for its disappearing messages and face-changing filters.

The subscription service, known as Snapchat+, gives people exclusive access to options such as the ability to customize the notification sound for each friend on the app.

However, its fourth quarter revenues of $1.3bn (£1bn), which included the Christmas period, were enough to see its share tumble.

It also dragged down Facebook parent company Meta and Pinterest, as Snap shares are considered a bellwether for the digital advertising industry because it reports its results first.

Snap shares tumbled 16pc - REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Snap shares tumbled 16pc - REUTERS/Dado Ruvic  

07:51 AM

Shingles vaccine boosts GSK

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has revealed that sales lifted higher over the past year as it was buoyed by demand for its shingles vaccine Shingrix.

The London-listed pharmaceutical giant said sales grew by 19pc to £29.3bn in 2022, compared with the previous year.

GSK said its blockbuster shingles treatment brought in £3bn in sales after 72pc growth year on year.

Meanwhile, vaccines revenues increased by 17pc to £7.9bn for the year.

A GSK pharmaceutical laboratory in Mayenne, western France - JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
A GSK pharmaceutical laboratory in Mayenne, western France - JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images  

07:47 AM

Stations eerily quiet as commuters left stranded by strikes

The first day of rail strikes this week has left many commuters unable to work - or furiously typing at laptops at home in their jogging bottoms.

Fifteen operators will run zero trains throughout today and Friday in their dispute over pay and conditions. Three operators will run a reduced service.

Here is everything you need to know about the rail strikes this week.

Empty platforms at Paddington Station in London this morning - Peter Clifton/PA Wire
Empty platforms at Paddington Station in London this morning - Peter Clifton/PA Wire  

07:36 AM

Vodafone revenues hit by declines in Germany, Italy and Spain

Vodafone has reported a further slowdown in revenues as the telecoms giant battles to turn around its business.

James Warrington has the latest:

Vodafone - Akos Stiller/Bloomberg
Vodafone - Akos Stiller/Bloomberg  

07:30 AM

January 'a tale of two halves' in property market

The 0.6pc decline in house prices in January was steeper than the 0.4pc decline economists had expected.

However, figures in the industry are reporting the first signs of a potential recovery.

Kylie-Ann Gatecliffe, director at Selby-based independent mortgage broker KAG Financial, said: "While December saw many buyers put the brakes on, in January they put their skates on.

"The downward pressure on prices once again reported by the Nationwide is stimulating demand. We have had an influx of enquiries from people looking to remortgage or move this year."

Nick Harris, co-founder at Wokingham-based Quarters Residential Estate Agents, said: "Though average property values fell in January and annual price growth continued to slow, overall activity levels were stronger than expected.

"January was a tale of two halves. The first half saw tumbleweed on the streets while the second half was particularly energetic."

07:20 AM

House prices suffer longest drop since 2008

House prices fell for the fifth month in a row in the longest string of declines since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.

The average sale price fell to £258,297 in January, down from £262,068 in December, a fall of 0.6pc, according to Nationwide.

The fall means the average home is worth 3.2pc less than its August peak. Annual price growth slowed to 1.1pc in January.

It comes as the Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates by half a percentage point to 4pc on Thursday, heaping more pressure onto mortgage payers.

Mortgage approvals fell to their lowest level in two and a half years in December as higher borrowing costs took their toll on the property market.

Banks and building societies authorised 35,612 home loans during the month, the fewest since May 2020 when the housing market was shut due to the coronavirus pandemic, figures from the Bank of England show.

Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner said:

Average house prices fell in January - Ian Forsyth/Bloomberg
Average house prices fell in January - Ian Forsyth/Bloomberg  

07:13 AM

Good morning

House prices dipped for a fifth straight month as the impact of rising mortgage rates takes hold.

Prices declined 0.6pc in January compared to the previous month, with annual growth slowing to just 1.1pc.

It comes as mortgage rate approvals declined in December to their lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

The average home in Britain is now worth £258,297, according to Nationwide.

5 things to start your day

1) Treasury rakes in extra £12bn as stealth taxes hit higher earners | More people stung by threshold freeze than expected as pay growth boosts tax take

2) Overseas investors plough record amount into government debt after mini-Budget exodus | Buyers snap up £38bn in gilts in boost to Sunak's government

3) Lotus to list electric car business in deal backed by world's richest man | Bernard Arnault's exposure to the EV market puts him in competition with Elon Musk

4) 'Dam bursts' as insolvencies hit highest number since financial crisis | Interest rates and energy prices are crippling companies after end of Covid support

5) Mike Lynch-backed Darktrace accused of misrepresenting accounts by short seller | Cybersecurity company allegedly engages in 'channel stuffing' to inflate sales figures

What happened overnight

Asian stocks advanced after US shares ended January on a high note as signs of cooling inflation encouraged risk appetite ahead of the Federal Reserve's meeting this evening.

A benchmark of the region's shares advanced about 0.4pc, with key indexes rising in Hong Kong and Australia, while shares fluctuated in mainland China and Japan.

Tokyo stocks trimmed earlier gains and ended nearly flat Wednesday as investors waited for the US Fed to conclude its policy meeting.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.1pc to 27,346.88, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.2pc to 1,972.23.

Adani Group stocks resumed their selloff after the share sale by the Indian conglomerate's flagship firm failed to turn sentiment from Hindenburg Research's fraud allegations.

In one bright spot for the group, nearly all dollar bonds issued by Adani companies extended gains into a second day.

The rupee was marginally stronger and the Nifty 50 stock index climbed as the government prepares to unveil its budget later Wednesday.


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