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Friday Papers: Murdoch reshapes media empire with $66bn Disney deal

And Bank of England unanimously votes to leave interest rates unchanged at 0.5%.

Friday Papers: Murdoch reshapes media empire with $66bn Disney deal

Top stories

  • The Guardian: Rupert Murdoch has begun the breakup of his global media empire, announcing a $66 billion (£50 billion) deal with Disney to sell assets including his Hollywood film studio and a controlling stake in Sky.
  • The Times: Disney will pay a $2.5 billion break fee to 21st Century Fox if regulators scupper their proposed deal.
  • The Times: 21st Century Fox’s £12 billion takeover of Sky, the satellite broadcaster, will proceed as planned despite Disney’s bid, the Takeover Panel has said.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Retreat of the Rupert Murdoch media empire is a stunning reversal.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Disney doubling down on streaming services with Fox deal.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Bank of England unanimously votes to leave interest rates unchanged at 0.5%.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: UBS’s long-serving wealth management boss Jürg Zeltner is stepping down by the end of the month, the Swiss bank said on Thursday morning.
  • Financial Times: KPMG reported record revenues of $26 billion in the latest financial year, although the pace of growth at the ‘big four’ accounting firm lagged behind that of its largest rivals.
  • Daily Express: London will remain one of the wealthiest cities in the world over the next 25 years while Paris will be replaced by Shanghai, according to a new report by economic think tank Oxford Economics.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain’s indebted credit card customers could save up to £1.3 billion a year under new rules designed to help people who fall into persistent debt.
  • Daily Express: Top executives at the UK’s biggest housebuilding companies are to be paid millions in bonuses despite the number of new houses being put on the market falling for the 22nd consecutive month.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The publisher of the Daily Mail has handed its struggling US property data business Xceligent over to liquidators only two weeks after announcing a strategic review.
  • Financial Times: Deutsche Bank has reached a €305 million deal to sell parts of its Polish business to Santander, as chief executive John Cryan presses ahead with his plans to streamline the underperforming German lender.
  • The Times: Black Friday sales and early Christmas shopping produced a surge in retail sales in November; the volume rose by 1.1% compared with October and was 1.6% higher than the year before, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed.
  • The Daily Telegraph: British-made TV and film boosted the UK economy by a record £7.7 billion last year, an 80% hike from the revenue generated by the industry five years earlier.
  • Daily Express: Sports Direct’s independent investors have rejected a proposed £11 million payout to the brother of its founder, Mike Ashley.
  • The Guardian: Sports Direct has revealed falling sales at its core UK stores and a dive in profits partly caused by the slump in the value of the pound.
  • The Times: Ocado has blamed a lack of delivery drivers for a slowdown in sales; the online retailer said that revenue growth had slipped to 11.6% in the 14 weeks to 3 December, from 13.1% in the previous quarter.
  • Daily Express: Dixons Carphone is ringing the changes at its smartphone business after a slump in profits as customers hold on to their older handsets for longer.
  • The Guardian: MPs call for legal action over 'shocking' HS2 payouts; public body overseeing £55 billion rail project ‘lacks basic financial controls’ with outgoing staff overpaid by £1.76 million, committee warns.
  • Daily Mail: Sanjeev Gupta is teaming up with global tidal power developer Atlantis Resources to create a new renewable energy firm.
  • Daily Mail: Outsourcer Mitie has clinched a £525 million ten-year contract with the Home Office to supply immigration services.
  • The Guardian: A deal has been agreed to stave off the collapse of Four Seasons Health Care after the company’s largest creditor agreed to drop several conditions.
  • The Daily Telegraph: More technology workers in the UK are coming from India, Australia and the US than from major EU countries, according to a study.
  • The Times: PZ Cussons, the soap and shampoo maker, said that dampened consumer spending in Europe and “challenging” trading in its key Nigerian business had knocked back its half-year profits by 10% compared with a year ago.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Amazon said it will start selling Google Chromecast gadgets again, extending an olive branch after the two internet giants clashed over the availability of their products on each other’s services.
  • The Times: More than 1,000 UK employees at the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs face an anxious Christmas after Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced plans to cut a quarter of its global workforce.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The chairman of Petrofac is heading for the exit as the troubled oil services group navigates an ongoing corruption probe by the Serious Fraud Office.
  • The Times: India’s highest court has allowed Vodafone to launch a second arbitration process over a $2 billion tax dispute, offering hope that it can finally be resolved.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD Bunzl; HOLD Domino’s Pizza.
  • Daily Mail: Embattled outsourcer Capita saw more than £300 million knocked off its value after warning of a slowdown in jobs from the public sector.
  • The Times: Administrators for Niki, the budget airline, began urgent talks to find a buyer yesterday after it filed for insolvency stranding 5,000 passengers.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Thames Water has quietly raised a £145 million bond through the Cayman Islands subsidiary it vowed to shut as part of a plan to rescue its damaged reputation.
  • The Times: The attempt by a Singaporean tycoon to take Millennium & Copthorne Hotels private was cast into doubt yesterday after three of its biggest minority investors rejected a sweetened offer valuing the company at £2 billion.
  • The Times: Lonmin’s board has recommended a £285 million takeover from a South African peer in a deal would draw the curtain on the troubled London-listed platinum producer’s 108-year history.
  • The Times: BP’s proposed $1.3 billion takeover of Woolworths petrol stations in Australia has been blocked by competition regulators who concluded that the oil major was likely to raise fuel prices.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Brexit will only mean Brexit if we regain control of economic rules.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Glittering run for Bitcoin, but it is not the new gold.

4 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Dec 15, 2017 at 12:01

Yes, the managements of the housebuilding companies are getting lottery type bonuses. But given the money they have made for their shareholders in recent years, who cares?

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Roger Savage

Dec 16, 2017 at 13:34

Easy money they have made for the shareholders and taken large chunks for themselves - they've done nothing special but be supported by public subsidies underwriting debt that allows them to sell houses that would be otherwise unaffordable. The existence of such schemes simply drives prices up and moves liability for debt (20% Help to Buy loan) to the taxpayer if the housing Ponzi scheme collapses. They should fund their own incentives to buy their houses. The status quo is immoral and no such support (aside from bankers, also party donors) is given to any other industry, even when it is in crisis. Help to Buy is a scheme that is a reward from the politicians that the house building industry lobbies and funds. Open corruption.

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Dec 16, 2017 at 14:18

I agree with a fair bit of what you say, although I suspect my politics are very different. There is a clear supply/demand inbalance in the UK housing market that has developed over many years, several governments and for a variety of reasons. I'm far from sure that the "Help to Sell" scheme is the best way of addressing it, but it will have resulted in more houses being built than without it. It is a problem that public funding also impacts on the price of the existing housing stock, along with QE and resultant low interest rates.

As Percy's newly resigned former Chairman pointed out , there should have been caps to bonus schemes to keep the payouts below lottery levels.

However, the original point is that where there have been massive additions to shareholder value, that management gets its shovel in does not much concern me.

What does is bonus schemes or resignation payoffsdelivering the loot where shareholder returns have been zero or negative. Rewarding failure at shareholder expenses does make me cross.

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Roger Savage

Dec 16, 2017 at 14:51

Totally agree re rewarding failure - directors that drain a company dry and dump it into administration for example (or try to dump pension liabilities).

I'm an enthusiastic capitalist and investor but I find it repellent where successful commercial entities receive subsidies from the state - that isn't capitalism.

Also, true supply and demand is a classic and efficient capitalist concept that should exist with minimal state intervention (or interference).

What we have in the case of housing is a form of manufactured supply and demand - uncontrolled immigration (supply) and demand (fuelled by irresponsibly cheap debt or state subsidies - all designed to prop up markets). The icing on the cake being commercial entities not being at all shy about flashing their wealth off the back of significant state intervention.

That isn't what I'd call 'proper' capitalism. The root cause of me labelling it as improper is totally different yet on an equal par as far as I'm concerned with rogue companies who abuse the concept of limited liability as per my first sentence.

Flip side is the government targeting energy companies for excessive profits (and yet they don't generate cash of massive state subsidies). Whilst I'm not a fan of the 'big six', the irony is crushing.

Line that up against the continual billions in support thrown at an already very profitable sector that provides a lot of funding to political parties.

That's why I believe what I do :)

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