Wesfarmers to raise $2.5 billion for Coles debt. As expected Wesfarmers has announced a fully underwritten rights issue to raise just over $2.5 billion as the centrepiece of refinancing the $4 billion in short term debt for its Coles takeover. The one for eight issue at $29 a share was revealed this morning as the company asked the ASX for the halt on trading its shares to be extended to next Monday (28 April) to allow the institutional sale to be completed. The company has already raised $700 million in a bond issue in the US at an interest rate of around 11%; it says it has $800 million in bank finance; and in addition to the $4 billion refinancing, it has secured a new three year working capital facility of $1 billion. The huge issue will mean that by the end of May over $8 billion in cash will drain from the market to pay for the WES issue and for the final payment on the T3 Telstra issue. -- Glenn Dyer

Takeover bid expect for Macarthur Coal. Queensland coal miner, Macarthur Coal, which exports pulverised coal to the steel mills of Japan, South Korea and increasingly into China, may face a $3.4 billion takeover after founder and former chief executive Ken Talbot sold his 24% stake for around $13 a share. Talbot is facing corruption charges in Queensland over an alleged $300,000 loan to former government minister, Gordon Nuttall. Macarthur shares jumped as much as 17.4% to a record $15.55 this morning, before settling back to be up around 14% at 11am. If the buyer was a single group, they will have to reveal themselves as the buyer to avoid breaching disclosure laws. -- Glenn Dyer