August 5, 2015 / 1:03 AM / in 2 years

PRESS DIGEST- British Business - Aug 5

The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Times

One of Britain's biggest drug companies, Shire, has initiated a $30 billion hostile takeover of Baxalta Inc , an American rival, as it seeks to become the world's leading supplier of medicines for rare diseases. (thetim.es/1KPcj96)

The British housing market may have had a brief summer lull, but prices are on the rise again. The latest figures from mortgage lender Nationwide indicate that house prices increased by 0.4 percent last month, pushing the annual rate of house price growth up to 3.5 percent. (thetim.es/1KPctNF)

The Guardian

ValueAct, a U.S. hedge fund that agitates for change at companies, has emerged as a shareholder in British engineer Smiths Group Plc, days after revealing it was the biggest investor in Rolls-Royce. The San Francisco-based activist investor is believed to own between 3 percent and 5 percent of Smiths. (bit.ly/1KPcyRx)

George Osborne has tried to justify a 1 billion-pound ($1.56 billion) loss on the first sale of shares in Royal Bank of Scotland in the face of criticism from politicians and City analysts by saying it was the right thing to do for British taxpayers. (bit.ly/1KPcD7I)

The Telegraph

The Financial Conduct Authority has dropped an investigation into a former senior UBS Group AG banker caught up in the Libor scandal, after its own review panel found there was not a strong enough case to pursue him. The financial regulator will not take enforcement action against Panagiotis Koutsogiannis after its regulatory decision committee found that dishonest conduct was not proven. (bit.ly/1KPcIsi)

Just Eat has brushed off concern it faces mounting competition from rivals muscling into the online food delivery industry after reporting that first-half orders, revenues and profits all surged by more than 50 percent. Revenues for the six months to the end of June climbed 54 percent to 107.8 million pounds. (bit.ly/1KPcKQP)

Sky News

A city trader has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for fixing the rates of interest at which banks lend to each other - the so-called Libor rate. Tom Hayes had been accused of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud between 2006 and 2010 for setting the rate on which trillions of dollars of financial deals are based. (bit.ly/1KPcQb4)

Another strike will bring the London Underground network to a halt this week after unions unanimously rejected the latest offer from Tube bosses. The walkout by thousands of workers will see no Tube service from 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday and none at all on Thursday. (bit.ly/1KPcYr5)

The Independent

Rolls-Royce has won a leading role in a multi-billion-dollar nuclear decommissioning contract in Canada - prompting speculation the engineering giant will launch another assault on the lucrative British market. (ind.pn/1KPd3ey)

The former leader of the Conservative Party, Lord Howard of Lympne, is to be questioned by the Serious Fraud Office in a criminal investigation into an oil explorer where he is chairman. Last week the SFO searched the offices of Soma Oil & Gas after a whistleblower made allegations about the London-based company, believed to relate to the manner in which it obtained exploration and drilling rights in Somalia. (ind.pn/1KPd4yU) ($1 = 0.6428 pounds) (Compiled by Mansi Goenka in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Wills)

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