The week according to MT

Our 60-second guide to the best of this week's business news: gifts from the East, a sprinkling of festive cheer, and a star is born...

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Things have been calming down slightly this week, as the business world started casting covetous eyes at the mince pies and turkey curry ahead over the Christmas period.

Of course, the Northern Rock saga’s been rumbling on – its shares rallied briefly this week after a report that Bradford and Bingley was interested in buying a stake, but with is potential suitors still struggling to raise funds, the threat of nationalisation looms ever larger. In the US, banks hit by the credit crunch are looking east for balance sheet salvation – this week Morgan Stanley brought in a Chinese sovereign wealth fund, while Merrill Lynch may be turning to Singapore.

There were some good news stories on Britain’s high street – a pretty rare event in recent weeks. As the Christmas rush finally began, M&S looked likely to enjoy a teacake windfall, Debenhams was boosted by the interest of a wealthy retail investor and even poor old Sports Direct saw its share price rally (despite unimpressive results).

But not everyone was getting into the spirit of Christmas. BSkyB suffered a double regulation whammy – the Competition Commission says it should sell a sizeable part of its ITV stake, while Ofcom is continuing its probe into Sky’s market domination. And Nelson Peltz is also playing Scrooge with a not-very-festive rocket for the Cadbury Schweppes board - he's demanding that they boost the company’s profit margins. Perhaps they’ll be among the 11% of us working this Christmas Day...

The week will also be remembered for a significant vote – no, not the X Factor or even Strictly Come Dancing, but the Lib Dems’ leadership election, which propelled the relatively-unknown Nick Clegg into the limelight. He's younger than Ming and more sober than Charlie, but will he turn out to be the party’s saviour...?

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