Independent on Sunday reports on fears that successful Ferrovial bid will undermine long-term strategy for UK airports. Plus the rest of the weekend's news.
A plethora of stories in the paper this weekend on the potential Ferrovial bid for airport operator BAA.
First up the Independent on Sunday reports the government has indicated it is prepared to intervene over Ferrovial's attempt to buy BAA, if a deal threatens its long-term strategy for the UK's airports. The Department for Transport is thought to be concerned that, should the Spanish construction giant acquire BAA, its plans to develop Stansted as London's third airport will suffer. The paper reports that BAA's executives are understood to have spoken with the government already about the possible approach, first revealed on Wednesday.
Next, The Guardian on Saturday reports that BAA diffused an embarrassing rebellion among airlines at Heathrow airport, in order to concentrate on fending off the unwanted attentions of Ferrovial. BAA has agreed to provide equal supplies of fuel to all long-haul airlines, ending a policy of favourable treatment for British carriers.
In economic terms, the Financial Times said on Saturday said that Ferrovial's prospects of buying BAA suffered a blow on Friday after the immediate cost of taking over the company looked set to rise by £1.95bn. BAA changed the terms on £1.95bn worth of bonds issued last week, which meant the debt would have to be repaid straight away in case of a leveraged takeover.
And finally, Saturday's Telegraph reports that BAA will attempt to push up the price of the takeover bid from Ferrovial, by arguing that a bid of even £9 a share would seriously undervalue the company. BAA was trading at 779p at Friday's close, valuing the firm at £8.4bn.
In other news, Saturday's Telegraph reports that houses are still being built on flood plains, despite Environment Agency advice to the contrary. According to the paper, 21 major developments on flood plain sites were granted planning permission, 15 of which were housing developments.
Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph claimed that John Prescott has handed too much power to housebuilders, creating a "blueprint for disaster". It criticised Prescott's handling of the housing shortage, saying that developers are paying planning consultants to fast-track planning applications, are writing their own briefs for estates and are choosing their own private-sector inspectors to check homes. It also said that building regulations were often ignored in new developments.
In financial news, Brixton, the industrial property company, is set to sell £450m of property to take advantage of high prices in the market, the Financial Times said. It will set up a £300m Jersey property unit trust in which it will hold a 25% stake. According to the FT, it is also selling a £140m portfolio of small properties, a £40m estate near Birmingham and a £50m estate near Ipswich.
The Times on Saturday reports that developpers at Paddington basin in west London are poised to submit plans for a £700m office, shopping and housing project that would be one of the biggest developments in the city. The paper says Paddington Development Corporation is proposing a 1.8 m sq ft development spanning six buildings on the site that had been earmarked for the Paddington Health Campus.
And finally, The Observer claims that Spain has become "the new frontier of world architecture". The paper quotes architect Richard Rogers, whose Madrid Airport opened last week, saying: "The cork has been pulled out of the champagne bottle and now it is all just bubbling out."