What the Sunday papers said

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Alcohol companies could be banned from sponsoring sport or advertising on television before the 9pm watershed under strict plans being considered by...

Alcohol companies could be banned from sponsoring sport or advertising on television before the 9pm watershed under strict plans being considered by the European Union to curb binge drinking. The alcohol strategy will be unveiled by the commission this summer and will be given added impetus by Finland, one of Europe's biggest consumers of alcohol, which has begun its six-month term as holder of the EU presidency - The Sunday Times

Under chief executive Alan Parker, Whitbread is no longer a collection of assets that bore little relation to each other. Investors are about to receive a further £400m from Parker, but they shouldn't keep on expecting cash. Whitbread has turned itself into Britain's biggest budget hotel chain and one of the largest coffee-shop operators. Several hotel deals are also possible, including Travelodge, which is worth north of £700m. One of the last disposals of the group's old stable of assets is the sale of 250 pubs, which will go for nearly £500m. Its other operations, Pizza Hut and TGI Friday's could both be bought by their respective joint-venture partners - The Sunday Times

Whitbread is not the only potential buyer for Travelodge. Dubai International Capital, the Middle Eastern investment firm that owns Madame Tussauds, has made an approach to buy the budget-hotel operator, which is valued at up to £750m. UBS, the investment bank, will handle the auction on behalf of private-equity owner Permira - The Sunday Times

Miles Templeman, the director general of the Institute of Directors, is to launch a fresh attack on the Government over red tape this week. The move comes as a new study by the business lobby group has revealed that none of the antibureaucracy measures announced by Labour in the past two years has made any material difference - The Sunday Telegraph

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott stayed at the luxury ranch near Denver of reclusive tycoon Philip Anschutz, who hopes to build Britain's first super-casino at the Millennium Dome - The Mail on Sunday

Meanwhile, Coventry City Council is preparing a legal action against the government's Casino Advisory Panel, seeking a judicial review of the selection process which saw the city omitted form a shortlist of eight bidders for super-casino licences - The Sunday Express

…and the proposed super-casino project at Wembley has been jeopardised by a change in control at Brent council, with some Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors opposing the £320m scheme. Harrah's Entertainment, the US gaming group, had the support of Labour councillors. But the recent switch to Tory-Liberal Democrat control has left the scheme in limbo, with several councillors saying they would seek to block its progress - Financial Times​ (weekend edition)

New world winemakers are planning to promote their more expensive brands as drinkers palates become more discerning. As the market is put under pressure by oversupply amid signs of stagnation after a decade of rapid growth, leading producers have decided to make their wines appear more upmarket. E&J Gallo is renaming itself Gallo Family Vineyards, Rosemount will relaunch this year with new 'fresh and fruity' wines, labels and bottles, while the Pernod Ricard-owned Jacob's Creek brand is expected to focus on premium versions, such as Jacob's Creek reserve - Financial Times​ (weekend edition)

In an interview with the IoS, Scottish & Newcastle chief executive Tony Frogatt says there is "more that needs to be done", despite the new product development that has seen the launch of super-chilled versions of Foster's and Kronenbourg 1664, and new cider brand Strongbow Sirrus. The IoS names Anheuser-Busch, SABMiller and Carlsberg as possible buyers of S&N, noting the Danish brewer's existing joint venture with S&N in Russia. "We enjoy working with the Carlsberg management," says Froggatt. "We have a lot of respect for them. Would we like to get closer? We would like to get closer but it does take two." - The Independent on Sunday

Cut-price champagne could become a thing of the past as French producers cash in on soaring demand for the high-end tipple. "One can see a certain prosperity spreading throughout the Champagne region," said Etienne Auriau, finance director of the producer Laurent Perrier. "We have had good harvests in 2004 and 2005" - The Independent on Sunday

And finally…Britons are spending more than £100m a year on smoothies, the lifestyle choice for Britain's increasingly health-conscious consumers. But now health experts are warning that the smoothies revolution has gone too far. Some of the fruit-packed drinks are also packed with sugar, calories and acids, while most people wrongly believe that every smoothie is just as good as eating a fresh apple or unpeeling a ripe banana - The Independent on Sunday

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