Philip Morris is in pole for Vectura race after Carlyle quits auction. The board of Vectura is under pressure over whether to recommend selling the respiratory drugs group to one of the world’s largest tobacco companies after Carlyle effectively pulled out of auction shortly before it was due to begin (The Times £). The battle for British pharmaceutical firm Vectura will not go to auction, after one of the two hopefuls said at the last minute that it would not increase its bid (Sky News). The takeover battle between tobacco giant Philip Morris and a US private equity firm for an asthma medicine company will not go to auction (The BBC).
Tesco has been criticised for a “shock” decision to leave a code that promotes fair treatment of small suppliers just before a stricter regime began. (The Times £)
One of the architects of Thatcherism has damned Morrisons’ suitors as ‘vulture capitalists’ keen to asset strip the grocer. Lord Vinson, 90, who co-founded the Centre for Policy Studies with Margaret Thatcher, said a private equity buyer would look to extract £1bn from its property portfolio. (The Daily Mail)
Alex Brummer in The Mail writes: “Among the puzzles about the bidding shoot-out for Morrisons is that it is between two overseas-controlled entities, Softbank-backed Fortress and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R). No one has come up with a home-based solution. One City veteran suggested that a good combination for Morrisons would be with Sainsbury’s, bringing together its strengths in the South with Morrisons’ northern footprint.” (The Daily Mail)
A top figure in the haulage industry has told Sky News that deploying army personnel to help tackle the HGV driver shortage “will not scratch the surface” of the UK’s delivery crisis. (Sky News)
Lamb grazed on samphire, sorrel and sea lavender on the Gower peninsular in Wales is the first UK food to receive protection under the post-Brexit regime (The Guardian). Lamb from the salt marshes of south Wales has become the first product to join Cornish pasties and Melton Mowbray pies in the foodie hall of fame since Brexit (The BBC).
Amazon will start directly paying compensation to customers who are affected by dangerous products sold by independent sellers in its store, as it faces mounting pressure over the safety of goods on its site. (The Financial Times £)
Coca-Cola bottles and cans were the most prevalent branded litter on beaches in the UK, a report has found, as campaigners call on the government to get on with introducing a deposit return scheme. (The Guardian)
Ministers have opened the door to expanding the use of animal testing to ingredients used in cosmetic products for the first time in 23 years, an animal welfare charity has said. (The Guardian)
David Smith in The Times writes that economic growth is slowing because of consumer caution. “Growth will slow because you can get the effect of removing restrictions only once. But it also will slow because there is evidence that consumers, who we are relying on to drive the recovery, are adopting a cautious approach.” (The Times £)
Export support should be better funded to match that offered to small companies by international rivals, a trade body has demanded. (The Times £)