Media Bites April 4: boots, lottery, M&S/Ocado | News


The US owner of Boots has offered to retain a stake of up to 30% in the pharmacy chain to ease the way to a £7billion sale as war in Ukraine will hamper buyers’ ability to raise financing through loan. (The time £)

Camelot, the UK’s national lottery operator, is launching a legal challenge over the decision to award the competition’s next license to Czech gambling group Allwyn, accusing the regulator of getting the result “very wrong” (The Financial Times £). Camelot claimed the Gambling Commission had been “seriously mistaken” in selecting a new national lottery operator, as it confirmed it had challenged its loss to a Czech billionaire in court (The time £). The Camelot boss said he was “shocked” by the decision and claimed the watchdog had “made this decision very badly” (Sky News).

The Czech billionaire who won the battle to take over the National Lottery is in line for a $750m (£572m) jackpot when he lists his company in New York in a 9-year deal, $3 billion (The time £).

Marks & Spencer is expected to confirm next month that its food delivery joint venture with Ocado is meeting its performance targets, triggering a payment of nearly £200million to Ocado. (The daily mail)

A row erupted between BrewDog and an HR consultancy that offered to improve relations between the beer brand and its staff (The time £). City great Allan Leighton has weighed in on the ‘toxic’ culture of Scottish beer company BrewDog after he launched an extraordinary tirade against Berlin-based human resources consultancy Hand & Heart, which had offered to help mediate with disgruntled staff (The daily mail).

The biggest bottler of cooking oil for UK stores has said it only has a few weeks supply of sunflower oil left. Ukraine and Russia produce most of the world’s sunflower oil and the war is disrupting exports, Edible Oils said (The BBC). The taste of your favorite crisps, baked chips and granola bars will soon change, as makers rework recipes amid a war-induced sunflower oil shortage in Ukraine (Sky News).

Cadbury is facing complaints about child labor on its cocoa farms, as an investigation reportedly showed some workers harvesting crops were as young as 10. (The daily mail)

Dairy farmers have held crisis talks in Brussels over soaring costs and supply chain disruption, as the industry warns the price of a pint will rise by 50%. (The telegraph)

Consumer sentiment about their finances has fallen to its lowest level since the first Covid-19 lockdown, according to a new survey. (The time £)

Ripflation will stoke the ire of beleaguered consumers, writes Oliver Shah in The Times. “Sustained share price will unlock big bonuses for executives. Any perception that bosses are reaping paydays funded by price hikes above inflation would be socially toxic when families are faced with an increase in council tax, energy bills and national insurance payments.The time £)

“This has been the toughest time in living memory for food companies,” said Chris Bull, president of Noble Foods. Consumer goods companies are facing a “relentless mix of pressures” – all they can do is keep going. (The telegraph)

Investors in Compass Group were puzzled by the cross-reading of results from restaurant and catering group Sodexo. In its half-year results, Sodexo, the world’s second-largest foodservice group behind Compass, warned that the road to recovery from the pandemic would not be so easy. (The time £)

Tesco has put up signs in its produce aisles informing customers that a small amount of dust has settled on its Spanish crops. Spain, which is a major supplier of produce to the UK, bore the brunt of the storm, with iceberg lettuce and small gems, celery and peppers among the crops affected. (The Guardian)

Cucumbers can be cool, but growing them takes heat. This is increasingly problematic in the cold north of Europe. Soaring natural gas prices have pushed greenhouse growers into crisis. Buyers should be prepared for shortages and higher prices. (The Financial Times £)

WH Smith providing home delivery should be an April Fool’s joke, writes Matthew Lynn in The Telegraph. “Home delivery is the biggest bubble right now. Sure, there’s a market for pizza and curry. But right now, companies are scratching the bottom of the barrel for things that can be put on a bike. (The telegraph)


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