United Kingdom

STOCKS TO WATCH: George Osborne firm bags job at Sainsbury's

Former Chancellor George Osborne turned his hand to investment banking in the spring. 

But as the MoS reported last month, his new employer Robey Warshaw lagged rivals amid a flurry of summer City deals. 

Finally, Osborne's boutique firm is off the mark. 

Stepping out: Former Chancellor George Osborne turned his hand to investment banking in the spring

Robey Warshaw has been hired by Sainsbury's to fend off a potential takeover as speculation swirls that the supermarket giant may become prey to a private equity bidder. 

Sainsbury's would become the third supermarket to be targeted following the acquisition of Asda and bids for Morrisons. 

Private equity firm Apollo and Czech tycoon Daniel Kretinsky – the supermarket's second largest shareholder – have both been named as potential suitors. 

It is understood Robey Warshaw has been secretly working with Sainsbury's since earlier this year on a broad remit of work. 

Osborne's involvement is not yet clear – but his political nous could come in handy in any politically charged mega-bid. 

Kingfisher to reveal results 

Home improvement has proved a boom industry since Covid left families cooped up for months on end. 

This week, half-year results from B&Q owner Kingfisher and annual figures from sofa seller DFS should indicate whether lockdown's end has dented the trend. 

Rival Made.com warned last week that shipping delays and higher freight costs were also hitting orders. 

The good news is analysts reckon Kingfisher's interim profit will still come in 20 per cent up, at about £600million. 

Saab shows off Combat Boat on Thames 

If you were sailing down the Thames last week and spotted a menacing gunboat, do not be alarmed. 

It was Stockholm-listed aerospace and defence firm Saab showing off its Combat Boat 90 to the UK for the first time.

The vessel is designed to land rapidly on rocky terrain and unleash up to 18 soldiers from its underbelly. 

'It's good at launching troops on a beach, reconnaissance and gathering intelligence – and we see great potential in the UK,' Saab executive Anders Hellman tells me from the cockpit while it performs emergency stops in the murky river. 

Word has it that Ministry of Defence officials have run the rule over the boat. 

With Boris Johnson's recent flood of defence spending, an order could be an outside bet. 

Hedge fund's shot in arm over vaccine cancellation 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid delivered a hammer blow to France's Valneva last week, claiming its Covid-19 vaccine would not have gained regulatory approval in the UK and pulling the plug on a 100million-dose deal. 

The decision caused consternation at the company – whose facility in Livingston, Scotland, had even received state investment – and a sharp drop in its shares. 

But a select group of hedge funds received a shot in the arm. 

US hedgies Citadel and PDT Partners had been betting against the stock, along with Sir Paul Marshall's Marshall Wace. 

Broker AJ Bell estimates the trio saw gains of around €13 million from the shares sell-off. 

Tidy business. 

Football news:

Barcelona has extended the contract with Fati until 2027. Compensation - 1 billion euros
Neil Lennon on the Manchester United game: So bad. Atalanta did not have to strain
Manchester United for the first time in history lost the first half with a difference of 2 goals in a home match of the Champions League
Lukaku and Werner were injured in the first half of the match against Malmo. Both have been replaced
Manchester United conceded in the 9th match in a row. The game with Liverpool is on October 24
Koeman about 1-0 with Dynamo: Barca had a lot of chances to score. It is impossible to forgive the opponent, we risked
Ronaldo holds the 300th match for Manchester United