What the Sunday papers said

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Related tags: Private equity groups, Private equity

Pub operator and brewer Young & Co is the target of rival pub companies, private equity groups and property players, with some observers...

Pub operator and brewer Young & Co is the target of rival pub companies, private equity groups and property players, with some observers forecasting the Wandsworth-based outfit could be the next big deal in the sector. Valued at £400m, Young's is keen to quash talk of a bid, which has surfaced after last year's deal to sell its historic brewery site to property developers Minerva for £69m. - Sunday Express

Diageo, which makes Johnnie Walker whisky and Guinness, is expected to announce a solid set of interim results this week, despite continued difficulty caused by weakness of the US dollar - America is the group's largest market. Analysts are expecting Diageo to hit its seven per cent earnings growth target. - Independent On Sunday

The fate of Torex Retail, the software group which owns XN Checkout, supplier of till services to thousands of UK pubs, could be sealed this week with the publication of reports from two firms of accountants. Beancounters from Deloittes have been examining the books of the group, which is at the heart of a Serious Fraud Office probe into whether Torex's value had been inflated to command a higher price in a mooted takeover. Consultants from KPMG are meanwhile due to report to Torex's bankers on the group's cash flow situation. Shares in Torex were suspended last month. - Mail On Sunday

Overweight people and smokers should be denied treatment until they get fit or give up the fags, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has warned. Hewitt says it is right that doctors can order individuals to lose weight or quit smoking before they are treated. Hewitt said the government wanted to see people taking greater responsibility for their own health, although those patients turned down for surgery because of their unhealthy habits should immediately be offer to change their lifestyle. - Sunday Times

Britons spent a staggering £8bn last year eating out, turbo-charging restaurant values and sparking a dealing frenzy in the City. Entrepreneurs and private equity companies have been scrambling for assets - such as last week's approach for the La Tasca chain - as share prices in quoted restaurant groups have soared to more than third of their value of only six months ago. Casual dining spending has risen to the current level from a mere £1bn in 2003, according to industry consultants Horizon Intelligence. - Mail On Sunday

A bitter campaign against the private equity sector will begin this week with the GMB union demanding that candidate Labour MPs publicly commit to increasing regulation and the abolition of tax relief on the billions of pounds that private equity firms borrow to fund their buyouts. However private equity groups hit back at what they see as changes to the tax regime that could have potentially disastrous consequences. Jon Moulton, head of Alchemy Partners, which owns Tattershall Castle Group and other bar companies, said: "The UK has only got one decent industry and it's called financial services. If we mess around with that we'll be at the IMF asking for loans for food." - Sunday Telegraph

A university has banned binge drinking games and alcohol-fuelled 'initiation' ceremonies after one of its first-year students died last year. Gavin Britton, 18, had been out with the Golf Society when he was found dead in fancy dress in the centre of Exeter. - Sunday Express

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