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PRESS DIGEST- British Business - April 25

April 25 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Times

The Chinese owner of Hamleys is in talks to buy a 51 percent stake in House of Fraser. C.Banner International Holdings Ltd said that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Nanjing Cenbest to purchase a "possibly very substantial" equity interest in the chain. https://bit.ly/2vHpZ8v

A key council of employees at the John Lewis Partnership has held its first secret ballot in more than a decade to gauge support for the leadership of Charlie Mayfield. https://bit.ly/2vGcFBt

The Guardian

TSB's botched IT "upgrade" has snowballed into a full-scale crisis, with up to 1.9 million customers locked out of their accounts for a fifth day, MPs demanding action and the bank facing a potential multimillion-pound compensation bill and regulatory fines. https://bit.ly/2qXZEO2

The Daily Express editor has said some of his newspaper's past front pages have been "downright offensive", made him feel "very uncomfortable" and contributed to an "Islamophobic sentiment" in the media. https://bit.ly/2HGEOgz

The Telegraph

Britain has agreed to a 4.4 billion pounds ($6.15 billion)acquisition of armoured vehicles for the army without a formal competition between suppliers, MPs have been told. https://bit.ly/2qZ4eeG

Learning Technologies Group Plc an Aim-listed provider of staff training software, is to expand in the United States with the $150 million takeover of Massachusetts-based PeopleFluent. https://bit.ly/2HYEuHJ

Sky News

The government has given the green light to Melrose Industries Plc's 8.1 billion pound takeover of British engineering giant GKN Plc after finding there were no national security grounds for intervening in the deal. https://bit.ly/2HpBPK5

Pacific Investment Management Co, the world's biggest bond fund manager will this week seal the purchase of a 5 billion pound portfolio of mortgages owned by British taxpayers, marking a fresh milestone in efforts to unwind the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis. https://bit.ly/2qY6bZ1

The Independent

UK public finances have registered their first current budget surplus in 16 years, showing the progress made by the government on this measure of deficit repair since the last recession. https://ind.pn/2HWZAWI

A group of 65 workers contracted through outsourcing company ISS, were told last month that some would lose their jobs and others may be given reduced hours in reforms aimed at achieving "operational effectiveness and financial efficiency". https://ind.pn/2FdY8fu ($1 = 0.7152 pounds) (Compiled by Bengaluru newsroom; Editing by Sandra Maler)