Europe News London

  • J Sainsbury and Asda, Wal-Mart's British supermarket unit, have admitted joining with other companies in fixing the price of dairy products in Britain, the Office of Fair Trading said Friday.

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    Britain would prefer a private sale of Northern Rock, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Wednesday, as officials played down a report that the government could nationalize the battered mortgage lender.

  • House prices in Britain fell for a third month running in November, according to the country's biggest mortgage lender, in a sign that the once red-hot property market is cooling fast.

  • The British Retail Consortium said the value of sales last  month rose 1.2 percent on the year. This followed a 1.0 percent gain in October.

  • European Union regulators said Thursday they will investigate whether British telecoms company BT Group is getting unfair financial help from the British government because its state guarantee exempts it from normal company pension rules.

  • Compass Group, the world's largest catering company, said Wednesday that its full-year profit rose 81 percent as it focused on its core businesses and cut costs.

  • Diehard retail investors in Northern Rock would be asked to invest about 770 pounds ($1,600) in the company if a proposed Richard Branson-led rescue of the stricken mortgage bank proceeds.

  • HSBC Holdings, Europe's biggest bank, has stepped in to support its two structured investment vehicles -- Cullinan and Asscher -- with funding of up to $35 billion to prevent forced sales of assets.

  • British Airways will not exercise its option to increase its stake in Spain's Iberia it said on Monday, possibly ending its 3.4 billion euro ($5.05 billion) pursuit for the airline with private equity group TPG.

  • Britain's government unveiled plans to build a third runway at London's Heathrow airport, one of the busiest in the world, to increase its capacity.

  • U.S. buyout firm JC Flowers has submitted an offer for stricken British bank Northern Rock that would include an offer to its shareholders at a "nominal value," a person familiar with the situation said.

  • Shares in mortgage lender Paragon Group plummeted 46 percent in early trading Tuesday after it disclosed that it was having difficulties in securing new financing because of the impact of the subprime lending crisis in the United States.

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    A big fire at a warehouse sent out a pall of black smoke over east London on Monday, but there were no reports of casualties and police said there was nothing to suggest it was anything more than a fire.

  • British bank Barclays categorically denied rumors it was about to announce a $10 billion writedown and see its top management quit, after such market talk sent its shares tumbling over 9 percent.

  • Medical devices firm Smith & Nephew (S&N) posted a 16 percent rise in quarterly earnings on strong demand for a new hip implant, but its shares tumbled as an unchanged outlook disappointed investors.

  • Britain's Shire beat forecasts with a 32 percent rise in third-quarter underlying earnings on Thursday and said its new hyperactivity drug, Vyvanse, had been well received by doctors and patients.

  • British insurer Resolution recommended shareholders accept a $10 billion offer from rival Standard Life on Friday and backed away from its proposed takeover of Friends Provident.

  • The Qatari group seeking to take over J Sainsbury, Britain's third-largest grocer, faces a Nov. 8 deadline to make a firm offer or withdraw, the parties said Friday.

  • British insurer Aviva said Thursday that sales rose 24 percent in the first nine months of the year as the company won new business and benefited from a U.S. acquisition.

  • The trouble in financial markets is not over yet and stocks, commercial property and credit markets in the rich world could suffer a further hit, the Bank of England said on Thursday.