City&FinanceBriefing READER OFFER TOP PRICE TICKETS FOR 27.50* TO BOOK TICKETS CALL 0844 847 1775AND QUOTE LITE TERMS & CONDITIONS: Valid for Monday - Friday performances at 7.30pm and Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm until 23 October 2009. Offer is subject to availability and not valid in conjunction with any other offer. A processing fee per transaction of up to 3.50 applies. Best Available tickets for 27.50 (usually up to 55) *(30 on Friday night and Saturday matinee) Best Available tickets for 27.50 (usually up to 55) *(30 on Friday night and Saturday matinee) PLAY THE GAME Available for iPhone and iPod Touch visit wewillrockyou.co.uk London Lite Friday, 2 October 2009 37 Inbrief Big spenders are back with a vengeance BY reBecca lowe and jonathan prYnn BAs joint venture with American put in doubt HOPES for a three-way British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia joint venture were up in the air today after European Commission officials said they believe the deal could be anti- competitive. In a statement of objections to the planned venture, the EC said: Their proposed cooperation on passenger air transport services on transatlantic routes may be in breach of European rules on restrictive business practices. An operating and marketing venture between the three airlines would be transformational. BAs planned an outright merger with Iberia and subsequently a close alliance with American as the way out of the UK flag carriers crisis in which it has put it on course to report its deepest dive into annual losses. Despite the EC objections, BA remains confident Brussels will wave through the plans because the US Department of Transportation has already waved through transatlantic alliances led by its great European rivals. BA said: We have received the EUs statement of objections and look forward to the opportunity to address and overcome the EUs concerns, especially given the substantial benefits for consumers that would result from our transatlantic joint business. BA and American have twice attempted to formalise a close alliance over the past decade and twice regulators have blocked the plans. Tesco may face curb on growth COMPETITION watchdogs today unveiled their latest attempt to clamp down on the power of the large supermarket groups. The Competition Commission is urging the Government to ban supermarkets that already have a 60% market share within a local area from either opening a new store or increasing floor space at the existing one. Tesco has challenged the recommendation once before and is likely to do so again. Australia Dollars 1.7174 Canada Dollars 1.6283 Denmark Kroner 7.7521 Eurozone Euro 1.0446 Hong Kong Dollars 11.7200 Japan Yen 136.7100 New Zealand Dollars 2.0527 South Africa Rand 11.2900 Sweden Kronor 10.6500 Switzerland Francs 1.5827 UAE Dirham 5.4929 United States Dollars 1.5220 TourisT raTes DOWN 26.62 at 5021.19 fTse 100 dow jones nikkei -$ DOWN 203.00 at 9509.28 DOWN 246.77 at 9731.87 DOWN 0.58 at $1.5895 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit thisismoney.co.uk * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available Black cabs now face a third rival l LONDONS traditional black taxi cab, made by Manganese Bronze, already under increasing pressure from new Mercedes black cabs, could face a third rival after a court ruling. Allied Vehicles Peugeot- built Eurocabs were banned by Transport for London because its vehicles do not have a 28-feet turning circle, but this has now been overturned by the High Court. Ill drink to that: capitals shoppers are shrugging off the slump edf goes for a 4bn sell-off l EDF is to power up its coffers to build Britains next generation of nuclear reactors by selling its distribution arm delivering electricity around London, the South-East and East Anglia for as much as 4 billion. The sale has been forced upon its Electricit de France parent because of a cash crunch linked to its takeover of the UK nuclear industry. Xstrata told: Put up or shut up l SWISS mining giant Xstrata has been given just three weeks to put up or shut up on its proposal to merge with rival Anglo American by the City Takeover Panel. Anglo asked the Takeover Panel on Tuesday to force Xstrata to make a formal offer on its merger bid or walk away for six months. Today the panel imposed a deadline of 5pm on 20 October for Xstrata. accountancy giants raided l PrICEWATErHOUSECOOPErS and KPMG faced embarrassment today as it emerged that police investigating alleged crimes at Icelandic banks raided their reykjavik office. Police seized data as part of a probe into the pairs clients Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki. The head of the KPMG office said no staff were questioned. BIG spending is back in fashion as shoppers shrug off bank crash guilt and start splashing out in the approach to Christ- mas. West End stores say they have been aston- ished by the sudden return of conspicuous consumption. Sally Scott, marketing director for Selfridges, said customer confidence had bounced back, peaking in the past few weeks. Champagne sales are up 20 per cent on last year and expensive vintage wine is selling well including a 2200 bottle of Lafite Rothschild. In the Christmas department takings are up 56 per cent. Scott said: Things have really picked up and we are confident of having a hugely successful Christmas. People seem to want to celebrate again after experiencing such a tough year. For many it was less about not having the money, and more about not wanting to be conspicuous with their spend- ing. Now people are proud to be back on the shop floor. Big sales at Selfridges last week included a 17,000 pair of Tiffany earrings. The revival has been fuelled by the City, where the FTSE 100 has surged through the 5000 mark.