Please see below a round up of this weekend’s newspapers: RBS closes in for £700m pubs sale Royal Bank of Scotland has moved close to a sale of the Galaxy group of 900 pub freeholds that could net the State-owned bank about £700m. The bank’s corporate finance arm and Sapient Corporate finance have been working on a review of the portfolio in advance of a sale. The catalyst for a sale of Galaxy, previously owned by brewer Scottish & Newcastle, is the expected termination of a supply agreement with drinks giant Heineken next year. Any buyer of the assets is likely to benefit from better terms from a new beer supplier. In the past two years, three property firms and one trade player are thought to have shown interest in the assets. RBS acquired the pubs group from S&N in 2000, making the bank a leading owner of pubs. A deal struck at the time between RBS and S&N gave the brewer rights to provide property management and beer to the pub estate. In 2008, S&N was acquired by European drinks giants Heineken and Carlsberg. Until now, Galaxy has been languishing in a group of companies in which RBS ended up owning a large share, along with other big lenders Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays. As hundreds of those companies struggled to pay debts, the lenders took control through debt- for-equity swaps. Relatively few of the assets have been sold so far due to weakening economic conditions blunting the enthusiasm of potential buyers. Four Seasons, which needs to pay off debt of £780m by next September, is one of several healthcare groups seeking to renegotiate their debt mountains. Partnerships in Care and Castlebeck, the subject of a recent BBC Panorama investigation, must also start refinancing negotiations shortly. The Mail on Sunday Alchemy offers Revolution Owners of the Revolution vodka bars plan to put the business up for sale and have invited bankers to pitch for a role selling the chain. Private equity firm Alchemy Partners, which acquired a majority stake in Inventive Leisure for £42.5m in 2006, is understood to want to launch the sale early next year. The 65 bars in the chain include two Revolucion de Cuba rum bars. According to Companies House, accounts for the year ended June 30, 2011, for Inventive Leisure, saw profit after tax of £455,000, compared with a loss of £32,000 the previous year. The Mail on Sunday Ramsay’s auditors bow out The business affairs of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay are rarely dull. He has suffered years of falling revenues, near-bankruptcy, the closure of several restaurants, and much publicised domestic fall-outs. Now the fiery restaurateur has parted company with his auditors after a five-year relationship. Accountancy firm Jeffreys Henry resigned two weeks ago, saying that “there are no circumstances connected with our resignation which we consider should be brought to the attention of the company’s members or creditors". However, the resignation may come as no surprise, given that Ramsay is embroiled in legal battles in which Sara Stewart, until last year a partner at Jeffreys Henry, has been mentioned. The Mail on Sunday ATM firm plans to cash in £100m Britain’s biggest independent operator of cash machines, NoteMachine, has been put up for sale. Its private equity owners expect at least £100m. The company, owned by Rutland Partners, has 7,000 cash machines in Britain and Germany and has hired adviser Hawkpoint. The company’s cash machines are in supermarkets, convenience stores and leisure venues. NoteMachine also offers a cash machine service to larger High Street retailers under their own brands. The company claims to have 12 million customer transactions a month and says it supplies an estimated £5bn of cash every year. The Mail on Sunday Krispy Kreme UK buyout The British arm of Krispy Kreme is being bought by its management after securing £25m from private equity firm Alcuin Capital. The move is spearheaded by Richard Cheshire and Rob Hunt, joint managing directors of the British subsidiary. The duo plan to increase the number of British Krispy Kreme stores from 46 to 80 within three years. They believe the expansion should create about 800 jobs. Alcuin Capital will hold a majority of the business. The Sunday Times Pubs plan a lock-in for Ivell Bob Ivell, stand-in chairman at Mitchells & Butlers, the pubs group that owns All Bar One, is facing pressure to stay in the post indefinitely after the company saw off a threatened £940m bid from billionaire Joe Lewis. Ivell, 59, joined the M&B board in May. Just two months later, Simon Burke quit as chairman and Ivell agreed to take the chair – but only until a permanent appointment could be made. Plans to recruit a new chairman were shelved last month when Lewis outlined his ambitions to buy M&B for 230p per share. The bid plan was dropped last week and now a number of investors are appealing to Ivell to stay on. M&B is also without a permanent chief executive. The Sunday Times Britain stalls as fear of double dip grows Britain’s economy has stalled, with the key drivers of recovery “stuck in neutral”, according to the latest Ernst & Young Item Club, to be published tomorrow. The Item Club forecast, which uses the Treasury model of the economy, is now for growth of only 0.9% this year, down from its projection of 1.5%. Any pick up next year will be modest, it warns, to 1.5%, implying a further rise in unemployment after last week’s surge to a 17-year high of 2.57m. The Sunday Times Sober times at Ministry of Sound Tough times at Ministry of Sound. Turnover at the south London club and record label, founded by its Old Eatonian chairman James Palumbo in 1991, fell to £43m last year from £50m and the pre-tax loss widened to £2.4m. Ministry blamed the poor results on the fall in demand for CDs and booze, with bar takings down, according to accounts filed at Companies House this weekend. The Sunday Times £5bn bill as inflation hits 5% Inflation could hit 5% this week, landing the Government with a £5bn bill for increased state benefits. The rise means misery for salary earners, intensifying the squeeze on living standards. Analysts expect consumer price inflation, currently 4.5%, to rise towards 5%, its highest for three years, with some predicting it could exceed the 5.2% peak of three years ago. The figure has been boosted by gas and electricity price increases. The Sunday Times Cabinet split on maternity rights David Cameron is facing a cabinet split on Government plans to roll back pledges to extend maternity and paternity leave and allow all employees the right to request flexible working. George Osborne, Eric Pickles and Steve Hilton, Cameron’s strategic adviser, want to scale back the family-friendly pledges amid fears that they will impede business and harm growth. But the Prime Minister will this week face a furious cabinet row as ministers including Nick Clegg, Oliver Letwin, Theresa May and Michael Gove, warn that this could harm efforts to reach women voters. The Government has published proposals to allow mothers and fathers to share parental leave, by taking it at the same time, cutting it in two or taking it on a part-time basis. The Sunday Times Firms hit by £6bn tax hike Businesses are to be hit by a £6bn rise in tax despite the financial crisis, according to the civil service’s own calculations. Companies face a sharp hike in business rates over the next three years and critics warn the extra costs could lead to more unemployment, which is already at a 17-year high. By the end of the Government’s five-year term, the tax take from business rates will have risen by 25%, or £5.9bn, from £23.8bn in 2010/2011 to £29.7bn in 2014/2015. The Sunday Times M&B back in hunt for new chief Mitchells & Butlers is to renew its search for a permanent chief executive after Jeremy Blood indicated to the board his desire to move on after Joe Lewis decided not to launch a takeover offer. Mr Blood, who took over on an interim basis in March, is understood to have told the board that he has no intention to stay at the company. The news comes just days after Mr Lewis’s Piedmont investment vehicle, which owns a 22.8% stake in the pub group, said it would not pursue an offer for the pub company after failing to secure backing from other major shareholders. M&B is understood to have since reactivated the role of James Hyde, a partner at the recruitment firm Korn/Ferry Whitehead Mann, to lead the search. At the same time it is expected that Bob Ivell, interim chairman, will seek a meeting with Mr Lewis to discuss his desire to stay on at the company permanently. The Sunday Telegraph Call for NI holiday to help jobs growth A National Insurance (NI) holiday should be declared by George Osborne to resolve the mounting unemployment crisis, according to the heads of two of Britain’s leading high street names. Both Ian Cheshire, the chief executive of Kingfisher, the parent company of B&Q and Screwfix, and Jill McDonald, the chief executive of McDonald’s in the UK, have called on the Chancellor to introduce the measure at next month’s Autumn Statement. The Sunday Telegraph Spirit Pub Company: Full-year results for the demerged pub-restaurant operator are expected to be accompanied by confirmation that Ian Dyson, chief executive, plans to hand the reins to his deputy, Mike Tye, in December. The Times, Saturday ’Cheaper than a sandwich’, but now for sale at £70m When he launched the Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch five years ago, Sinclair Beecham announced an introductory promotion with rooms “cheaper than a sandwich”. Although he has regularly deployed the £1-a-night offer since then, the co-founder of Pret A Manger is poised to reap a somewhat higher price if talks over a £70m sale of the London hotel to the Morgans Hotel Group comes to fruition. Morgans, which already operates the Sanderson and St Martins Lane hotels in London, is understood to be the preferred bidder for the 208-room hotel after teaming up with Invesco Real Estate to bid for the property. The Times, Saturday French bid for DTZ ‘to be delayed’ Saint George Participations and French bank BNP Paribas are set to confirm on Monday that they will not make an immediate bid for property agent DTZ. French-family firm SGP is the largest shareholder in DTZ and has been in talks since May about a deal to acquire the property agent an then sell it to BNP Paribas Real Estate. The Telegraph, Saturday Pension debts are priority for bankrupt companies, court rules Bankrupt companies must fill their pension gaps before paying other unsecured debts, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday. The court upheld an earlier ruling against the administrators of Lehman Brothers and Nortel Networks that pension funds were an expense and must be paid out before debts to administrators. The ruling prompted warnings that it could make administrators reluctant to take on cases. The Pensions Regulator, the public body charged with protecting pension schemes, ordered Lehman and Nortel to support their underfunded pension schemes through so-called “contribution notices” after they filed for bankruptcy. The Telegraph, Saturday Firms still failing to ensure a woman’s place is at the boardroom table British businesses which continue to be led by all-male teams have been put on notice that they will come under mounting pressure and their reputations may be tarnished if they refuse to appoint women to their boards in the next two years. There are still 14 companies in the FTSE 100 without any women around the top table, an improvement on the 21 companies six months ago but still not good enough, according to Lord Davies of Abersoch, whose report on the issue six months ago set a target of 25% of all board members by 2015. The Guardian, Saturday