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MPs to call for 50p minimum price for alcohol – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

04 January 2010 by
MPs to call for 50p minimum price for alcohol – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

MPs to call for 50p minimum price for alcohol
Read the full article in the Observer >>
Kraft to increase Cadbury bid US food giant Kraft is expected to raise its hostile £10b bid for Cadbury in the next two weeks as the British chocolate maker's investors hold out for a higher offer in excess of 800p-per-share, against the current bid value of 736p-a-share. Kraft, which set a 5 January deadline for its current cash-and-shares offer, must move by 19 January as it can only make a higher bid after this date if a rival bid is tabled. Contenders include US chocolate maker Hershey, Swiss food giant Nestlé and Italy's Ferrero Group. - 3 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

M&B faces shareholder showdown while Hilton is tipped for restructure
Embattled pub operator Mitchells & Butlers faces a D-Day confrontation with its major investors at its annual general meeting at the end of January, predicts the Sunday Times'Need to Know column. The rebel shareholders, led by billionaire trade Joe Lewis, will push for the appointment of four non-executive directors and may also oppose the re-election of chairman Simon Laffin. Meanwhile, the column suggests that international hotel group Hilton faces a refinancing to reduce its $20b debt. - 3 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

DCMS to relax live music rules for pubs, restaurants and cafés Pubs, restaurants and cafés will find it easier to host live music events following a decision by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to allow small venues to hold live events for up to 100 people without requiring a license. The decline in the number of venues hosting live music has been blamed on the cost and bureaucracy involved under the 2003 Licensing Act, although the cost was cut last year for pubs and bar owners from £225 to a one-off £89 fee. British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) director Martin Rawlings welcomed the move. "The BBPA welcomes any measures that can help pubs overcome existing barriers to putting on live music, helping musicians to reach audiences, while at the same time boosting business, particularly during these difficult times," he said. The exemption will see a big change for restaurants, which are only allowed to offer 'incidental music' under the current regime. The proposed exemption, which applies to performances held indoors between 8am and 11pm, have to be approved by Parliament after a 12-week consultation. - 31 December, Read the full article in The Times >>

Wetherspoon set to buy 12 venues - and rerun 99p-a-pint promotion
Pub operator JD Wetherspoon is thought to be close to clinching a £4.3m deal to buy 12 late-night venues from 3D Entertainment to add to its estate of 740 pubs. Wetherspoon, which acquired seven outlets from 3DE in September, is expected to pay a multiple of three times earnings for the 12 venues, a mix of Chicago Rock Cafés and nightclubs. The sale is part of a wider disposal at 3DE of 50 more venues, including Jumpin Jaks, which are likely to be acquired by R Capital, Matterhorn Capital or Brook Leisure. Separately, Wetherspoon is set to rerun its controversial 99p-a-pint promotion in the first half of January, which will also cover glasses of wine, spirits and bottled lagers. - 31 December, Read the full article in The Times >>

Fairtrade looks to hotels to revive flagging cotton sales
The Fairtrade Foundation is looking to hotels and NHS Trusts to help revive flagging sales of ethically-grown Fairtrade cotton. While demand for Fairtrade coffee and chocolate has continued to grow despite the recession, sales of Fairtrade cotton slumped by 25% in 2009 after double-digit growth in the preceding two years as fashion outlets and shoppers focused on low-cost clothing. Victoria Morton, head of non-food business development at Fairtrade, said the organization hoped British hotel groups would follow the example of Hotel Dorint in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, which has created trial Fairtrade rooms using towels, bed linen, toiletries and bathrobes from the products. Fairtrade has helped set up a scheme for NHS Supply Chain to supply lab suits, scrubs and T-shirts made from Fairtrade cotton to its 450 client NHS Trusts, which is hopes to expand if successful. - 29 December, Read the full article in The Times >>

By Angela Frewin

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