And in the real world... BA, Marks & Spencer, Kraft/Cadbury, Woolworths, Tesco and more

LONDON - Today's round-up of the biggest business stories

World news... round up
World news... round up

Companies in prime central London areas face bigger-than-expected business rate increases, averaging almost 40 per cent, the country's largest collector of rates has warned. Source: Financial Times

British Airways could seal its long-running all-share £4.2 billion merger with Spain's Iberia by the end of the year, the boss of the UK flag carrier has said. Source: The Daily Telegraph

Marks and Spencer yesterday reported improving conditions on the high street as Sir Stuart Rose, the executive chairman of the retail company, insisted he would not outstay his welcome when a new chief executive was appointed next year. Source: Financial Times

Kraft is under pressure to make a formal takeover bid for Cadbury after the UK's Takeover Panel gave the US food group less than six weeks to put an offer on the table or walk away. Source: Financial Times

Less than ten months after Woolworths' final stores closed, the iconic style is set for a high-street comeback. Alworths – a new chain selling everything from picture frames to pick 'n' mix confectionery – will open its first batch of stores next month. Source: The Independent

The supermarket giant Tesco beat a retreat in the face of opposition from shopkeepers and residents yesterday, shelving plans to open a store in historic Holmfirth. Source: Financial Times