The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is examining whether Europe's largest stock exchanges are effective monopolies, in a development that could delay any takeover of the London Stock Exchange for several months reports the Financial Times
The paper says the results of the OFT’s two-month review of the two competing bids for the LSE from Deutsche Börse and Euronext could be announced today.
A detailed questionnaire, sent to LSE customers by the OFT and obtained by the Financial Times asks: “What leverage do you have in your negotiations with exchanges given that there appear to be relatively few alternatives to trading on an exchange?”
If it concludes that broader competition questions have to be answered, the OFT could refer one or both putative bids to the Competition Commission, which is likely to stall any deal.
Last December, Deutsche Borse offered to buy the LSE at 530p per share, a price twice rejected by the LSE as too low, but which proved no barrier to Euronext, its Paris-based competitor, which announced it would file its own bid.
Deutsche Borse has shelved its offer for the LSE, a deal is likely to be above 530p.
THE FT ALSO reports that Morgan Stanley chief executive, Phil Purcell has announced a management shake-up calling into question the fate of several division heads.
The paper says the move is meant to show shareholders management recognise the group’s need to address performance issues. But it claims the changes will be disappointing to those who have requested more drastic action.
ACCORDING TO the Times HSBC customers could be petitioned by striking staff outside their local branches as part of plans for industrial disruption by the bank’s 25,000 cashiers and clerical staff
Employees are being balloted on strike action in a dispute over pay. Amicus, the trade union, says the first of a wave of one-day strikes would be set for just before the second May bank holiday to maximise disruption.
Amicus also plans to demonstrate at the bank’s annual meeting on May 27 as it begins its first 24-hour walkout. The union has rejected a pay offer that would restructure bonus payments and mean that some staff who are not viewed as having performed outstandingly would not receive any pay rise.
The bank claims is trying to bring its lower-paid staff up to the average market rate. It says that 70% of staff will receive bonuses worth 10% of their salary.
Last month HSBC announced record profits of £9.6 billion. The bank is setting aside £162 million for the pay increase.
MEANWHILE the Guardian reports Government plans to give every home, office and shop in Britain an energy rating to alert people to how much gas and electricity they are wasting have been delayed - undermining attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
An announcement was due last Thursday on how Britain was to implement an EU directive on the energy performance of dwellings and commercial buildings.
The directive forms a central plank of the Government's plans to reduce the UK's carbon dioxide levels by 20% by 2010, a pledge made in the party's 2001 election manifesto.
Last Thursday was seen by experts as the last chance to introduce the EU directive by the deadline of January 4 2006, because a small army of surveyors and energy inspectors would have to be trained to provide professional advice and issue certificates.
Before training can take place details of how the Government intends to implement the legislation are needed, including details of which buildings, such as shops, offices and banks, will have to display their energy ratings in the entrances for all to see.IFAonline
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