News in brief

  • Private equity firms are rumoured to be considering taking over Morrisons and could offer 350p per share. Wm Morrison, the UK supermarket group, is reportedly being by eyed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Market rumours, reported in the Independent suggest that a bid may be on the cards. Brandes Investment Management, the largest Morrisons investor, could prove responsive to offers. Other private equity firms are rumoured to be considering taking over Morrisons and could offer 350p per share. Morrisons has a current market capitalisation of £6.896bn (US$12.88bn).
  • The private equity fund Carlyle Group is interested in taking over Deutsche Boerse if the German exchange fails to merge with Euronext, the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera said citing officials of international stock exchanges. According to the daily, some of Deutsche Boerse’s shareholders, such as Children Investment Fund, are ready to sell their stakes if the merger fails.Carlyle aims to delist the German bourse, it added. Deutsche Boerse and Borsa Italiana, which operates the Milan bourse, are offering a three-way alliance with Euronext. The move aims at thwarting a planned merger between Euronext and the New York Stock Exchange.
  • An investors group led by 3i Group and including Indian business processes outsourcing (BPO) entrepreneur Raman Roy, could buy United Utilities’ BPO unit Vertex, according to India’s Economic Times newspaper. The report said the offer would value Vertex at between US$750-800m. In June United Utilities mandated Merrill Lynch to review the market for its non-regulated business process outsourcing unit. The Vertex business has a turnover of £400m (US$737m) per annum, and was developed internally to manage administrative and customer processes within United Utilities 10 years ago, non-group clients now account for 75% of the unit’s business. Earlier reports had suggested Tata Group had been lining up a US$1bn bid for the business. Indian conglomerate Tata’s steel unit last week agreed a £4.3bn (US$8bn) deal to buy Anglo-Dutch steel producer Corus, the largest ever cross border acquisition by an Indian company.
  • TA Associates is on the verge of buying Spain’s online travel agency eDreams. According to a report in Spain’s financial newspaper Expansion, TA Associates is on the verge of sealing a deal this week to buy eDreams for some €100m (US$126m).
  • eDreams refused to comment on the situation, while a representative for TA Associates was not in a position to comment.
  • Iceland-based investment group Baugur is reportedly interested in Moss Bros, the UK menswear group. Speculation among traders saw Moss Bros stock rise 0.25p, giving the business a market value of £71.87m (US$135m).