What the Sunday papers said

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The Sunday TelegraphSix Continents, the hotel and pub group, has held talks with Scottish & Newcastle, Britain's biggest brewer, about combining...

The Sunday Telegraph

Six Continents, the hotel and pub group, has held talks with Scottish & Newcastle, Britain's biggest brewer, about combining their pub estates to create a £4.5bn business that would be floated on the stockmarket. The merged business would have 3,400 managed pubs and a turnover of £2.4bn. Read more on thePublican.com...

In the Telegraph's City Profile, Punch chairman Giles Thorley says he could not handle life at the coal face: "I couldn't run a pub. It's one of the most difficult jobs in the world." The company, due to float in the next two weeks, has budgeted to buy around 300 pubs a year. Mr Thorley has options equivalent to a stake of about two per cent.

The Independent on Sunday

Nightclub operator Po Na Na (20) and The Old Monk Pub Company (42) are both listed in the Deloitte & Touche / Indy 100 listing of Britain's fastest growing companies. The index also includes pizza group Ask Central (34) and noodle chain Wagamama (69). Two coffee bar brands and a sandwich bar chain make the top ten.

The Sunday Times

Tony Blair is the surprise star of a new television advert that will be screened across America to boost Britain's tourist industry. The advert is part of a £40m public-private partnership to boost the "ailing" tourism industry. The "Visit Britain" initiative received £20m from firms such American Express, British Airways, Hilton and P&O - a sum matched by government.

Hilton Group is in talks with several parties, including Rotch Property Group, over a sale-and-leaseback deal on a package of 10 hotels, worth up to £350m.

Keith Harris, the chairman of the Football League, is close to a deal with Granada and Carlton, the owners of ITV Digital, which collapsed last month. Harris is hopeful Carlton and Granada will pay as much as £100m and hand back the rights.

Matthew Freud, the public-relations entrepreneur,and Joel Cadbury, the heir to the chocolate fortune,are to go their seperate ways just a year after paying £11m for The Groucho club, the Soho haunt of media folk.

The Mail on Sunday

Investors are set to give Punch taverns a cool reception when Britain's second-biggest pub makes its stock market debut this Thursday. The company will be valued closer to £620m than the hoped-for price of £744m.

Carlton and Granada were told not to apply for licences put up for sale when their joint venture, ITV Digital, went into administration. the warning is believed to have come from Patricia Hodgson, head of the Independent Television Commission, the industry regulator.

The Sunday Express

Shares in pizza chain Ask Central look a good bet at 186p according to the Express share column. The company gave a reassuring update last week, the group has delivered strong growth, and looks set to expand to more than 300 restaurants.

Bosses of Britain's big four banks face a grilling by the Treasury Select Committee this week over their treatment of small businesses and personal customers. The chief executives of Barclays, HSBC, Lloys TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland will all be quizzed.

The Business

The number of people out of work is set to fall to a 26-year low when April figures are released this week. City economists expect the claimant count to nudge dwon by 5,000 to around 940,000, keeping the jobless rate at its March level of 3.1 per cent of the workforce.

Retail sales growth on Britain's high streets slowed to a yearly rate of less than four per cent in April on a like-for-like basis. Sales are expected to pick up during May and June because the Jubilee and World Cup celebrations. The Observer

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