Tobacco takeover, UK borrowing and hotels hit: Today's top City headlines

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British American Tobacco took the market by storm today, unveiling a  $47 billion (£38 billion) deal to take full control of US giant RJ Reynolds.

It is the biggest overseas takeover by a British business since RBS’s $97 billion takeover of ABN Amro in 2007.

Britain fell further into the red last month, with another budget shortfall that was wider than the City had been predicting.

The deal, if approved by the Americans, would see BAT grab the 58% of Reynolds it doesn’t already own, creating the biggest privately-owned tobacco company in the world. Only state-run China National Tobacco Company would be bigger.

The Government borrowed £10.6 billion in September to make ends meet — £2 billion more than forecast by economists.

That’s a headache for Chancellor Philip Hammond who is working on a budget to be delivered on November 23. It is assumed he would like to deliver higher spending plans to boost the economy after the Brexit vote, or tax cuts.

InterContinental Hotels Group has suffered increased competition as a flood of new hotels has opened in London, it said today as it revealed a sluggish performance in the capital.

The Crowne Plaza owner said over-supply of rooms available had left London revenues “flat” in the third quarter. 

The Chinese appetite for UK energy assets is showing no sign of slowing down, with Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing considering entering the race for UK smart-meter company Calvin Capital.

Li’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings is among a number of suitors circling Calvin for a possible £1 billion deal, according to Bloomberg.

Microsoft’s share price hit an all-time peak after cloud computing took it to new heights. 

The Xbox and Windows owner saw shares rise 6% to $60.63 in after-hours trading, surpassing a previous high of $59.56 during the dot-com bubble in 1999. 

Business Inteview: Back from the farm, the hedge-fund high-flyer reaping a rich harvest at Man

Timing is everything for Luke Ellis. He was 44 when he retired from the City as markets spun out of control in 2008. Now he’s back as the chief executive of Man Group.

Comment highlights:

Jim Armitage says the BAT mega-deal is because of UK flight – so put away the Union Jack

“How British is BAT really? Run by a Brazilian, it has had little UK presence for decades, while Americans, with 40% of the stock, own twice as many shares as Brits.” 

Market report:

Shareholders in Israeli gaming tycoon Teddy Sagi’s Playtech were betting on the firm hitting the jackpot today with its acquisition of bingo software business ECM Systems.

In a deal worth about £15 million, Playtech said the purchase of the firm, which supplies support services to Gala 


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October 21, 2016 |
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