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Summary

  1. MPs question BHS directors and advisers at joint select committee hearing
  2. Goldman Sachs banker Anthony Gutman warned Arcadia's finance director about Dominic Chappell's past bankruptcies
  3. Brexit 'would spark year-long recession', Treasury finds
  4. Ryanair to cut fares by 7%
  5. Cheque's death exaggerated

Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

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Over and out

That's all from a busy day on Business Live - my colleagues are back bright and early at 06:00 so do join us then for all of Tuesday's happenings. Thanks for reading.

Monsanto shares jump

Monsanto sign
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Monsanto shares closed 4.4% higher at $106 in New York tonight - still considerably below the $122 a share being offered by Germany's Bayer.

The fact shares in Bayer fell 5.7% in Frankfurt today might suggest investors are sceptical about the merits of the $62bn merger.  

Oil eases back

Oil pump
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Oil prices eased again on Monday after Iran said it would increase output and the number of rigs drilling for crude in the US held steady after declining for eight consecutive weeks. 

US crude fell 33 cents to $48.08 a barrel, while Brent shed 37 cents to $48.35.

Wall Street ends lower

Wall Street ended slightly lower as a bounce in Apple failed to offset growing concerns that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates sooner than later. 

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 5 points to 17,495.8, the S&P 500 lost 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,048.3 points and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.1% to 4,765.7 points.  

Jolie at LSE

Tap and snack

Jean-Robert Kamdoum
BBC

Do contactless cards make us spend more? Lucy Hooker has been flashing the plastic to find out.

She spoke to Jean-Robert Kamdoum (pictured), who tallied up his spending and found that paying with contactless did mean he spent money more than usual.  

Read Lucy's feature here.

Versace tries on McQueen chief

Donatella Versace
Getty Images
Donatella Versace is the label's creative chief

And on to some other business news now: fashion watchers may be interested to know that Versace has a new boss - the former head of Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Akeroyd. 

He will take over from Gian Giacomo Ferraris, who has led the Italian company since 2009 and is credited with relaunching the group after it averted bankruptcy in 2004.   

Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca said he was surprised by the move: "I was expecting Ferraris to take Versace to the stock market, after reviving it successfully in the past few years." 

US private equity firm Blackstone, which bought a 20% stake in 2014 to help to fund expansion abroad, is thought to be planning an IPO.

McQueen is owned by French conglomerate Kering and Mr Akeroyd had been running the label since 2004.

The company you keep...

And another observation about the hearing from the Guardian's Graham Ruddick:

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In a sentence...

Nice summation of Lord Grabiner's evidence to MPs today from Oliver Shah of the Sunday Times:

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It's finally over...

Well, that's it after four hours the BHS committee has finished its grilling.

You can get more analysis of the events here.

Team negotiating BHS sale 'doing a good job'

Lord Grabiner is asked again about a board meeting on 10 March 2015 when BHS's sale was approved. However, he wan't present and didn't receive any papers. 

He's asked if Sir Philip Green was operating entirely without  his knowledge.

He repeats that a sub-committee was set up by the board to conduct the sale negotiations and that it was doing a good job. 

Read my body language

Business Insider reporter Oscar Williams-Grut tweets:

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MPs grilling continues

Business Committee tweets

Witnesses asked when they last visited BHS stores

Lord Grabiner
Parliament Live TV

Lord Grabiner, chairman of Taveta Investments, tells MPs he has "not visited a BHS store".

Retail Acquisitions a 'credible buyer'

Chris Harris
Parliament Live TV

Chris Harris, Arcadia's property director, tells MPs there was a package of measures that got the Arcadia board "comfortable" that Retail Acquisitions was a "credible buyer".

Arcadia knew about one bankruptcy

Paul Budge, finance director Arcadia
Parliament Live TV
Arcadia finance director Paul Budge

Arcadia knew about one of Dominic Chappell's bankruptcies in the early stages of talks about BHS  - though it was not aware about the other one, says Arcadia finance directror Paul Budge

That's why Arcadia talked to Goldman Sachs in 2014, he adds. 

Arcadia took on board Goldman Sachs' observations about Mr Chappell's lack of retail experience. 

MPs move on to new witnesses

Lord Grabiner has done a "lot of the heavy lifting for the team", MPs on committee tell him.

He says he was beginning to wonder why the rest were there. 

The questioning moves on to other witnesses.

BHS would have gone under without buyer

Retail Week tweets

BreakingFracking approved in North Yorkshire

We turn away from BHS for a moment to bring you some breaking news from business correspondent John Moylan:

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Evidence continues at the BHS committee

More from Lord Grabiner. 

He tells the committee  he believes that Arcardia believed the business plan put forward by Retail Acquisitions was "plausible" and "credible".

Nothing Lord Grabiner has seen suggests that Arcadia directors failed to discharge their duties, he adds. 

BHS 'credible business plan'

Lord Grabiner, Taveta Investments
Parliament Live TV

At Taveta Investments board meeting on 25 March 2015 the terms of the deal, which had already been agreed, to sell BHS to Retail Acquisitions was described to the full board. Sir Philip Green said the purchaser had a "credible business plan", says Lord Grabiner, Taveta Investments chairman. 

'Four months warning'

Sunday Times reporter Oliver Shah tweets:

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New witnesses from Arcadia and Taveta

New witnesses are facing the MPs now.  

They are Lord Grabiner, board member, Taveta Investments; Ian Grabiner, chief executive of Arcadia; Paul Budge, Acradia's finance director and director of Taveta Investments; Gillian Hague, director of Arcadia Group; and Chris Harris, Arcadia's property director.

Witnesses complete evidence

That's it for Owen Clay of Linklaters, Steve Denison of PwC and Anthony Gutman of Goldman Sachs, who have completed their evidence to MPs.

Stick with us - there are plenty more witnesses to come. 

Goldman attended 'three meetings' over BHS sale

Anthony Gutman, Goldman Sachs
Parliament Live TV

More from Anthony Gutman of Goldman Sachs: He tells MPs it would be common for a client (Arcadia) to ask for perspective (on Retail Acquisitions' proposals) in the context of the client going ahead to manage a transaction themselves in-house, which is what happened here. 

"It would be common for us to be clear about the limit of what we could do in that situation," Mr Gutman saud.

Goldman Sachs attended three meetings and had a "small single digit number of phone calls", he adds. 

More from the BHS committee

BBC Business Correspondent tweets

Goldman asked for 'observations'

We weren't asked to provide "recommendations" about Retail Acquisitions  we were asked to provide "observations," says Anthony Gutman of Goldman Sachs. 

BreakingRetail Acquisitions proposals 'lacking in detail'

Anthony Gutman, Goldman Sachs
Parliament Live TV

Anthony Gutman of Goldman Sachs is before MPs now. 

He says his firm informally and verbally told Paul Budge, Arcadia finance director, in December 2014 that  the buyer interested in BHS - Retail Acquisitions director Dominic Chappell - didn't have retail experiences, highlighted the fact that his proposals were preliminary and lacking in detail and that the buyer had a history of bankruptcy. 

BHS acquisition aimed to cut costs

Retail Week tweets

New witnesses face MPs on BHS

A new line up before the joint Business Committee and Work and Pensions Committee hearing now ...

Owen Clay, Partner at Linklaters; Steve Denison, partner at PwC; and Anthony Gutman, Goldman Sachs' co-head of EMEA investment banking services.

Stick with us for more...

More on BHS

KPMG's David Clarke is asked if - in his experience - it's common for money to be distributed to shareholders that exceed profits for that year and a company borrows money in order to fund it.

He says he can't talk specifically about BHS, but in his wider experience, he has seen such dividend policies before "but not frequently".

BHS: no privilege for Nabarro

Sunday Times reporter Oliver Shah tweets:

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Pensions rescue plan would have been 'costly'

Tony Clare, Deloitte
Parliament Live TV

It's not a nice 'cop-out' for anybody to only get 90% of their pension expectations, Tony Clare, Partner with Deloitte told MPs.

Under Project Thor BHS wanted to provide a better outcome for the pensioners than they would get by going into the Pensions Protection Fund. It was going to be costly but they were still willing to do it, he added.  

Concerns about BHS pension schemes

David Clarke, KPMG
Parliament Live TV

BHS had been loss making for a number of years and forecasts showed that would continue to be loss-making even if an turn-around plan could be successfully enacted, KPMG Partner David Clark told MPs.

That raised concerns about the company's ability to support the pension schemes, he added.  

Several approaches made for BHS

Retail Week news editor tweets

Potential bidder for BHS named

City AM tweets

Adviser had 'concerns'

David Clark of KPMG told MPs that as financial advisers to the retailer, KPMG did ask questions about Retail Acquisitions ahead of it buying BHS - questions they would have asked about any potential purchasers.

He added that KMPG was aware that the buyer was an 'acquisition Newco' (new company) set up specifically to purchase BHS and they were concerned about its ability to trade and fund BHS and the pensions fund. 

'Vague on dates'

Business Committee chairman Frank Field says advisers before committee seem "vague" on dates when they knew about sale of BHS to Retail Acquisitions. 

Project Thor put on pause

Retail Week tweets