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Monday Papers: Cameron’s $1bn China fund hits investment wall

And arms deal watchdog to get new teeth to stop defence companies profiteering.

Monday Papers: Cameron’s $1bn China fund hits investment wall

Top stories

  • Financial Times: David Cameron is struggling to get his $1 billion UK-China investment fund off the ground, as tensions rise between the two countries over Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, according to officials briefed on the fundraising effort.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO), the watchdog tasked with preventing defence companies from padding out profits on secret arms contracts, looks set to get new powers to stop price gouging, including the ability to hit suppliers with £1 million financial penalties.
  • Financial Times: Britain is seeking powers to vet new EU laws agreed by the rest of the bloc during the transition period after Brexit day, in a demand that risks setting the UK on a collision course with Brussels.
  • Financial Times: Cargill, the agricultural trading titan, is hiring data scientists to find ways to profit from the scraps of information picked up as food commodities flow through its factories, silos and ports.
  • Financial Times: Global dealmaking has made its strongest start since the turn of the century, reflecting boardroom confidence from US tax reform, a strengthening international economy and surging equity markets.
  • The Times: Four former bosses at Provident Financial have launched employment tribunal claims for unfair dismissal in the wake of the botched restructuring of its salesforce.
  • Financial Times: Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck said it would repay customers after falling victim to one of the world’s biggest heists.
  • Financial Times: Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the Swedish flat-pack furniture company Ikea, has died at the age of 91.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, originally intended to be completed by the end of last year, appear set to drag well into 2018 as elections looming in Mexico, Canada and the US complicate efforts to strike a deal.
  • The Daily Telegraph: RBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank are among the banking giants tightening their belts in London by ditching expensive properties and consolidating into smaller offices.
  • The Daily Telegraph: In a bid to become more like Facebook, video game publishers are moving from retail to gaming-as-a-service, but hi-tech schemes capable of convincing players to part with cash may bring about its downfall.
  • Financial Times: UK dividends grew at the fastest pace in five years in 2017, boosted by favourable exchange rates and a resurgence in mining payouts as commodity prices picked up over the year.
  • Financial Times: Almost 60,000 people have signed up so far to sue German carmaker Volkswagen Group over its emissions scandal in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest group actions to come before London’s High Court.
  • The Guardian: MPs have accused the Pensions Regulator of failing to act while Carillion racked up debts to pay dividends and executive bonuses, as the business built up a pension deficit that reached nearly £1 billion by the time it collapsed this month.
  • The Times: The level of protest votes by shareholders at company annual meetings has tailed off since its peak six years ago but institutional investors remain concerned about excessive executive pay, an analysis has found.
  • The Guardian: Dan Gerlter, a billionaire businessman who featured in the Paradise Papers exposé, is under investigation by the US authorities on suspicion of bribing high ranking government officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The Guardian: The property company run by a former co-chair of the Presidents Club has lost a major financial backer in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal at an all-male charity dinner; Ivanhoé Cambridge, a Canadian investment group, said it had halted further investments with Residential Land, which is owned by Bruce Ritchie.
  • Financial Times: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested and later released on Sunday for organising an unauthorised protest in Moscow, but thousands of his supporters continued to march in cities across Russia calling for a boycott of March’s presidential election.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times: Spotify, the music streaming service, is preparing to become the first company to attempt a “direct listing” on the NYSE without hiring investment banks.
  • The Times: The Pig, a chain of shabby chic hotels co-owned by Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire chief executive of Ineos, the chemicals company, is poised to make three additions to its litter; almost seven years after opening its first hotel, in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, the group plans to open in Kent, West Sussex and Cornwall at a combined cost of £30 million.
  • The Times: Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer lending platform, is planning to raise hundreds of millions of pounds from a float this year partly to finance a marketing blitz in its biggest potential market, the United States.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): ‘Larry’s Letter’ drives charge for reimagining of global capitalism.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Return of animal spirits spells end of the bull market.

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