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Co-op to pay bonuses despite withholding £65m in state funds

Co-op to pay bonuses despite withholding £65m in state funds

Business
The Co-op Group is to hand annual bonuses to senior executives despite refusing to repay £65m in business rates relief it received from the government to support it through the pandemic.Sky News can reveal that the mutual's remuneration committee has decided to reward chief executive Steve Murrells and senior colleagues for their work last year - a move that insiders say could spark a fierce backlash from members and employees. The size of the bonuses to be handed to executives will be disclosed in the Co-op's annual report in the coming weeks, and was unclear on Thursday. Image: Tesco led the way in repaying business rates relief Confirming a report by Sky News, the Co-op said it would give back only part of the state support it rece...
Co-op Bank left 'defenceless' by regulator in ill-fated merger

Co-op Bank left 'defenceless' by regulator in ill-fated merger

Business
By John-Paul Ford Rojas, business reporter The Co-operative Bank was left "defenceless" by the City regulator as it nodded through its ill-fated takeover of a rival four years before its near-collapse, a Treasury-commissioned report has found.It said the Financial Services Authority (FSA) had identified "vulnerabilities" before it approved the Co-op's merger with the Britannia building society in 2009. But the regulator was keen to back the deal partly because of the risks posed to the financial sector had the Britannia failed, and saw the Co-op as the "best available safe harbour", the report found.Four years later in 2013, the lender nearly collapsed after discovering a £1.5bn hole in its finances that had to be plugged by a group of US hedge funds...
Co-op in £15m takeover raid on Costcutter

Co-op in £15m takeover raid on Costcutter

Business
The Co-op‎ Group has made an audacious knockdown bid to take over Costcutter, one of Britain's biggest independent grocery retailers, amid an accelerating shake-up of the food industry. Sky News has learnt that the Co-op, which has been revived after nearly collapsing five years ago, approached Costcutter's owner, Bibby Line‎ Group, with a £15m offer several weeks ago.The bid was rejected, but Bibby Line is understood to have left the door open to further talks."The talks are not live, but could be again very soon," one source said on Saturday.Disclosure of the approach from the Co-op could pave the way for offers from other suitors, according to retail analysts. Image: Costcutter is one of Britain's biggest i...
Co-op in exclusive talks to buy Nisa Retail

Co-op in exclusive talks to buy Nisa Retail

Business
The Co-op Group has moved into pole position to swoop on Nisa Retail, trumping its rival J Sainsbury in an accelerating battle to consolidate Britain's convenience store market.Sky News has learnt that the board of Nisa Retail has granted a period of exclusivity to the Co-op to negotiate a takeover of the member-owned business.It comes just days after Sainsbury's put the brakes on its interest in Nisa amid concerns about competition regulators' likely view of a tie-up.In a message circulated on Wednesday, Peter Hartley, Nisa's chairman, told shareholders that the Co-op had "confirmed, subject to further due diligence, its intention to progress matters as quickly as possible, in the hope that a transaction can be finalised".Mr Hartley cautioned that "key elements" of a takeover by the Co-op...
Co-op Bank close to £700m rescue deal

Co-op Bank close to £700m rescue deal

Business
The beleaguered Co-operative Bank is closing in on a £700m rescue deal with US hedge funds amid ongoing talks about the separation of the vast pension scheme it shares with the Co-op Group.Confirming a report by Sky News, the Co-op Bank said on Monday morning that it was on the verge of finalising an agreement that would end months of uncertainty about its future.The Bank also confirmed that it had terminated talks with a Qatari-Swiss consortium to focus on a rescue package provided by its existing bondholders, who also own most of its shares."The Proposal, if implemented, would enable the Bank to meet the longer-term‎ capital requirements applicable to all UK banks and to continue as a standalone entity," it said in a statement to the stock exchange."The proposal would also safeguard the ...