Bid rumours buoy O2 as legal mire hits Equitable

O2’s launch of internet service i-mode helped it storm into third place in this week’s Reputation Monitor.

The service – already popular in its country of origin, Japan – allows users to access certain websites, including The Times Online.

Speculation that Deutsche Telekom was lining up a bid for the mobile operator also worked in its favour.

While Tesco and Asda maintained their dominance, Sainsbury's was lifted by a multi-million-pound makeover, in which it unveiled its new slogan, 'Try something new today'.

Morrisons continued to suffer after talks collapsed to resolve a dispute over  proposed depot closures, threatening 2,500 jobs. A three-day strike was planned to begin this Thursday (29 September), with union bosses warning of empty shelves.

The bottom spot was occupied by Equitable Life, which abandoned legal action against ex-accountant Ernst & Young. Some reports claimed the former could face costs of £30m.

It was a bad week for the aviation industry. Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines have filed for bankruptcy, while caterer Gate Gourmet remained low in the table despite its resolution with British Airways.

Reputation Monitor is compiled from Thomson Intermedia's National News Index, a measure of media sentiment that excludes stock market reports and passing mentions.

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