Business news in brief: Tesco | Telefonica | Zurich

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Tesco – Credit rating agency Moody’s said the supermarket giant faces lower profitability in the UK and a weaker performance in eastern Europe and Korea, although it welcomed the group’s decision to slow its expansion plans.

Telefonica – The Spanish parent company of O2 offered £7.3 billion for E–Plus, the German mobile phone arm of Dutch telecoms group KPN, securing the backing of major KPN investor America Movil.

Zurich Insurance – Police were investigating the death of Pierre Wauthier, the insurer’s chief financial officer, after his body was discovered in his Swiss home, the company said in a statement last night.

ING – The Dutch banking giant agreed to sell 90 per cent of its Korean life insurance business to private equity firm MBK Partners for about £1bn as it continues its withdrawal from Asia, but will book a loss of about £816m on the deal.

BATS Global Markets – An agreed merger with rival Direct Edge will see the enlarged group overtake Nasdaq OMX to become the second–largest US stock exchange behind NYSE Euronext when the deal completes next year.

EDM Group – Research from the information management firm found only 5 per cent of pensions professionals believe the quality of data held by defined benefit pension schemes is “excellent”.

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