Retailers join IPO shopping list Bankers are preparing to list a swelling number of high street retailers on the London Stock Exchange as their private equity backers rush to cash in on a recovery in the IPO market. Discount retailer Poundland and Pets at Home are poised to kick off the slew of initial public offerings in the UK by filing for flotations within the next two months. Poundland, owned by private equity group Warburg Pincus , is seeking a valuation of £700m-£800m when it files for a flotation as early as next month with a view to listing the shares as soon as March, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Pets at Home could file for an IPO as early as February. EU energy costs widen over partners The gap in energy costs between Europe and its leading trading partners is widening, according to an official paper to be released by Brussels that shows industrial electricity prices in the region are more than double those in the US and 20 per cent higher than China's . Elliott increases stake in Celesio Elliott Associates , the activist hedge fund, has increased its stake in Celesio to more than 24 per cent, days after an $8.6bn takeover of the German drugs wholesaler collapsed. The move could herald an attempt to salvage a deal with McKesson , the US pharmaceuticals distributor, whose planned acquisition did not win enough shareholder support to go ahead last week. Top universities will not expand England's most prestigious universities are at full capacity and will not put their status in jeopardy by expanding recruitment, a leading vicechancellor has predicted. In an interview with The Times, the chairman of the Russell Group , David Eastwood , said that any expansion would involve middle-ranking universities aiming at students with lower grades. Solar farms to double despite pledge The number of solar farms will more than double this year despite a government pledge to stop them from blighting the countryside. EU could outlaw giant NHS database Plans to store all patient records in a vast database which can be accessed by researchers and drug firms could be scotched under proposed EU laws which would render the NHS plans illegal. Households across Britain are currently being sent leaflets informing them that from April, their medical histories will be shared with researchers and pharmaceutical companies unless they opt out. JP Morgan sues Berlin transport firm US bank JP Morgan is suing Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe to recover the $204m it says it is owed over an "unfortunate" derivatives contract. Visa programme has record numbers A federal programme that allows foreigners to live in the US if they invest in job-creating ventures took in a record-high number of applications last year. Last year, 6,434 foreign investors applied for visas under the programme, up from 6,040 in 2012. Showdown for Pandora Media and the American Society of Composers , Authors and Publishers are set to meet in a long-awaited trial to determine how much the Internet-radio giant should pay for the use of their compositions for the next two years.
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