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The boss of the world’s biggest bank has told Sky News that Western economies have a “good hand” in the “economic battlefield” with China but declared it does not have to be war.

In a wide-ranging interview with Sky’s Wilfred Frost, chief executive and chairman of JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon said the West was going to have a “hard time” as long as China had close ties with Russia.

But he said it was well placed due to the resilience of their collective economies and long-standing partnerships, such as NATO.

Money latest: Rainy day for iconic British brand as profits suffer

However, he warned of the dangers of fragmentation since Donald Trump, when US president, pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017.

He also said that Joe Biden’s administration should have worked with allies over the effects of his Inflation Reduction Act.

The massive programme of incentives to bolster the green economy had the effect of taking investment out of Europe at a time when Russia’s war in Ukraine was dominating the agenda.

The bank boss warned too of a backlash from China over US tariffs against its electric cars and solar panels announced just this week, arguing that a joint approach from western powers over China more generally would carry more weight.

Mr Dimon, who has run JPMorgan since 2005 and is widely seen as the most influential boss of a financial services company in the United States, said: “We have competition with China.

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Why is the US taking aim at China?

“I think the American government is doing the right thing to fully engage. That doesn’t mean the Chinese are going to like everything we do just like we don’t like everything they do but it doesn’t have to be war, it can be tough competition and we should be prepared for that.”

“The most important thing”, he added, “is that we do it together”.

“They’re not an enemy, you know, but they’re competing. They want a different world than we want. And I think they want a different world than we want in the Western world… it’s worth fighting for.”

“We all made a little bit of mistake in how we kind of expected them after WTO (World Trade Organisation) to become more Western and things like that. It’s okay. Don’t cry over spilled milk,” he concluded.

Mr Dimon was speaking 24 hours after the US-based bank, which has 22,000 staff and a 200-year history in the UK market, announced £40m in new investments to help connect young people and underserved communities to economic opportunities.

They followed the opening of a new tech centre in Glasgow.

JPMorgan Chase – perhaps best-known in this country for its Chase retail division – is the biggest bank in the world by market value with a capitalisation of almost $600bn (£475bn).

Mr Dimon, who was initially critical of Brexit following the UK’s split from the EU, spoke of the bank’s continuing commitment to the country having called the future of its UK operations into question in 2021.

Asked about the looming election, he said that talks with Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer had left him in no doubt that both the Conservatives and Labour were “pro business”.

He described how growing economies benefits everybody as it allows for investment.

“Everybody I heard… Conservative and Labour, (is) talking about growing the economy, technology, research and developments, simplifying regulations, making it easier for people to start businesses and grow businesses, making sure schools educate… those policies work,” he said.

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Indian pharma group readies swoop on anti-smoking aid Nicotinell

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Indian pharma group readies swoop on anti-smoking aid Nicotinell

An Indian pharmaceutical group is closing in on a deal to snap up Nicotinell, the anti-smoking aid, from Haleon, its FTSE-100 parent company.

Sky News has learnt that Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories could be within days of acquiring the brand and a number of lesser-known European products from Haleon.

Sources said a deal was likely to be announced as soon as this week.

It was unclear on Sunday how much Dr Reddy’s might pay for the Haleon-owned assets, although it is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of pounds.

Should it be completed, it will be the latest in a string of acquisitions for the Indian- and US-listed company.

Dr Reddy’s has a market value in New York of about $11.7bn, having been established in 1984.

In Britain, the company has had a presence since 2002, and includes commercial offices and a research and development centre in Cambridge.

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It also operates an active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing site in Mirfield, West Yorkshire.

Dr Reddy’s has been in talks for months about acquiring the Nicotinell brand from Haleon, the over-the-counter products giant spun out of FTSE-100 drug maker GlaxoSmithKline.

Haleon, which has a market capitalisation of close to £29.5bn, is chaired by the former Tesco chief executive Sir Dave Lewis.

GSK sold its remaining stake in Haleon earlier this month.

Haleon owns some of the most recognisable over-the-counter healthcare brands in Britain, including the multivitamin supplement Centrum, Panadol pain relief tablets and Sensodyne toothpaste.

Nicotinell, which is sold in patch, gum and lozenge form, is said to be the second-largest nicotine replacement therapy product globally.

Its prospective sale will come days after Rishi Sunak’s administration failed to pass his flagship anti-smoking bill after he called a surprise summer general election.

Haleon declined to comment.

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FTSE-100 housebuilder Persimmon weighs £1bn bid for rival Cala

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FTSE-100 housebuilder Persimmon weighs £1bn bid for rival Cala

One of Britain’s biggest housebuilders is exploring a £1bn takeover bid for Cala Group, a rival player in the sector which has been put up for sale.

Sky News has learned that Persimmon, which has a market value of £4.74bn, is leaning towards submitting an offer for Cala ahead of a bid deadline next week.

City sources said it would be a strong contender to buy Cala, whose homes have a significantly higher average sale price than those of Persimmon.

Insiders expect Cala, which is being auctioned by Legal & General (L&G), to command a price tag of about £1bn.

If Persimmon is successful in the auction, it would mark the York-based company’s biggest acquisition for years.

Under Roger Devlin, its chairman, and chief executive Dean Finch, the company’s share price has rallied by over 20% in the last year.

In a trading update last month, Persimmon said it was on track to deliver growth in new home completions this year to up to 10,500.

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The Cala auction comes amid a general election campaign in which new home provision is expected to figure prominently.

Both main parties are likely to set out new policies to stimulate housebuilding growth, according to sources.

Analysts said this weekend that other housebuilders were also expected to consider bids for the L&G-owned company.

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These could include, they said, Persimmon’s larger rival, Taylor Wimpey, and Avant Homes, which is owned by Elliott Advisors and Berkeley DeVeer.

Persimmon is the UK’s third-largest housebuilder by market capitalisation, behind Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments.

Both Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey were among eight housebuilders named by the Competition and Markets Authority in February over suspicions they had exchanged commercially sensitive information.

A takeover of Cala by another major housebuilder would underline fresh momentum in the industry’s consolidation, after Barratt Developments unveiled a £2.5bn deal to acquire rival Redrow.

The prospective sale of Cala represents the first significant strategic move by its new chief executive, Antonio Simoes.

Bankers at Rothschild are overseeing the auction.

Mr Simoes described Cala as “a very strong business” during an earnings call earlier this year on which he was quizzed about the housebuilder’s future ownership.

L&G took full control of the business in 2018.

Cala reported a slide in half-year profits last autumn, citing a “challenging market”.

The company has a long-term goal to build 3,000 homes annually.

Persimmon and L&G declined to comment on Saturday.

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Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells admits removing reference to Horizon IT system from Royal Mail prospectus

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Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells admits removing reference to Horizon IT system from Royal Mail prospectus

Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells has admitted to amending the legal document Royal Mail issued to would-be investors before it became publicly owned to remove mention of the flawed Horizon IT system.

Data from the accounting software created by Fujitsu was used to prosecute more than 700 sub-postmasters for theft and false accounting.

Many more victims lost their homes, livelihoods and good reputation to repay non-existent shortfalls.

Now the inquiry set up to establish a clear account of the introduction and failure of Horizon has heard during Ms Vennells’s third and final day of questioning that she removed “at the very last minute” reference to Horizon from the prospectus Royal Mail issued before it was listed on the London Stock Exchange.

A prospectus is a legal and financial document detailing key information for potential company investors.

It was the first time the issue was raised with Ms Vennells.

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Paula Vennells breaks down in tears again

She said: “It was flagged to me that in the IT section of the Royal Mail prospectus, there was reference to – I can’t remember the words now – but risks related to the Horizon IT system… the line that was put in said that no systemic issues had been found with the Horizon system.”

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Ms Vennells wanted the reference removed as, “the Horizon system was no longer anything to do with the Royal Mail group” she said, and contacted the company secretary to have the reference removed.

Based on this action Ms Vennells wrote to a colleague “I have earned my keep on this”.

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She was at the top of Post Office for 12 years and served as its chief executive for seven of those, from 2012 to 2019.

In at times emotional testimony, Ms Vennells said she “loved the Post Office” and worked “as hard as I possibly could to deliver the best Post Office for the UK”.

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