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Saturday Papers: Osborne aims to strip Whitehall of £58bn

And Moody's downgraded eurozone’s rescue funds as the region’s unemployment hit a new record high.

 
Saturday Papers: Osborne aims to strip Whitehall of £58bn

Top stories

  • Financial Times: George Osborne is attempting to strip Whitehall of up to £58 billion of business support funding and place it in local hands in the biggest act of financial devolution England has ever seen.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The eurozone was dealt a fresh blow as Moody's Investors Service downgraded the region's rescue funds and unemployment hit a new record high.
  • The Independent: Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, yesterday demanded that EU leaders leave behind the "fairy world" and forge a banking union, while warning that the eurozone's economic and debt woes won't get better until deep into next year.
  • Financial Times: Wall Street stocks saw muted gains this week as US policy makers failed to achieve progress in the fiscal cliff negotiations; the S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 1,416 for the week; the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.1% higher, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 1.5%.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The French government has agreed a deal with steel giant ArcelorMittal over the company’s Florange plant that will save around 550 jobs; ArcelorMittal has promised to invest €180 million in the site in eastern France.
  • Financial Times: The number of wealthy migrants entering the UK on specialist visas designed to attract millionaire investors jumped by over three-quarters last year, led by people from China and Russia.
  • The Guardian: The Italian police have launched a new investigation into the tax affairs of the internet giant Google, which the Rome government said this week had failed to declare revenue totalling more than €240 million.
  • Financial Times: Goldman Sachs executives including Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive, and David Viniar, outgoing chief financial officer, pocketed nearly $50 million after exercising stock options and selling shares in the investment bank.

Business and economics

  • The Daily Telegraph: Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation could be forced to surrender any profits it made from information secured through bribery, legal experts have warned.
  • Financial Times: Fuel-cell boiler developer Ceres Power was the week’s top small-cap gainer after reports of its demise proved exaggerated.
  • Financial Times: A Mexican court has awarded damages of $2.7 billion against Yahoo in a contract dispute with its former partners on a directories business in the country.
  • Financial Times: Shares of Yum Brands fell more than 10% on Friday on fears that recent struggles in its China business are worsening.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Bankers are facing a fresh crackdown on bonuses ahead of the New Year pay round under moves by the Bank of England to overhaul award structures.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Aston Martin, the luxury British sports car marque favoured by screen spy James Bond, faces having its credit rating downgraded deeper into "junk", Moody's has warned.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Home owners have been offered the lowest ever two-year fixed rate mortage deal at 1.99%, kick-starting the first home loan price war since the credit crisis began in 2008.
  • The Independent: Data from Cranfield School of Management shows that the proportion of female directors of FTSE 100 companies has risen to 17.4%, up from 12.5% in February 2011.
  • Financial Times: The £60 million collapse of Arck, a property investment company that went into liquidation, is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The former boss of Amazon in the UK invested in Comet alongside OpCapita and was advising the private investment firm on an online strategy for the electrical retailer before its collapse, it can be disclosed.
  • The Guardian: Lightbulb maker Osram is to cut 4,700 jobs after it is spun off from the German industrial group Siemens.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Two Indian financial service companies have announced new outposts in London, as the capital's mayor Boris Johnson called for George Osborne to cut the top rate of tax to attract more overseas investors.
  • The Guardian: International Airlines Group, the company formed from the merger of British Airways and Spain's Iberia, is suing the Spanish pilots union over strikes late last year and early this year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: William Hill is seeking to renegotiate its £530 million takeover approach for Sportingbet after the online gaming group reported disappointing first-quarter earnings.
  • Daily Mail: Sainsbury's is expanding its role as a surrogate banker to its small suppliers as high street lenders continue to starve firms of vital credit.
  • Financial Times: Amazon, the world’s biggest book retailer by sales, is to start publishing printed books in Europe.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The ban on BP bidding for new federal contracts in the US could take many months to lift, it has emerged, as US officials poured cold water on the British company's suggestion that the restriction could soon be ended.
  • The Guardian: One of the digital world's closest friendships is over – Facebook and Zynga, the games developer whose creations were launched on the social networking site, have severed their ties.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Recession in the eurozone forced a further 173,000 people out of work during October and pushed the unemployment rate to a record high of 11.7%.
  • The Guardian: The online auction site eBay should face an investigation into possible unpaid VAT owing to its complex tax arrangements, according to the chair of the parliamentary public accounts committee.
  • The Independent: India’s gross domestic product grew by 5.3% between July and September, compared with 5.5% in the previous three months.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph: France and Germany are close to agreeing to a shake-up of EADS, Europe's largest aerospace group, by hiving off part of the French government's stake to make way for Berlin as a shareholder, according to reports.
  • Financial Times: Enegi, the Aim-quoted company that also controls oil and gas assets in Canada and the UK’s North Sea, has issued an independent assessment of the Clare Basin exploration block in Ireland suggesting it contains a potential 3.6 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of shale gas.
  • The Daily Telegraph: US billionaire Warren Buffett has bought the insurance business of Caixabank for €600 million in a deal that will allow the struggling Spanish lender to book a gain of €524 million.
  • The Independent: The delivery giants United Parcel Service and TNT Express offered fresh concessions to Brussels yesterday as they struggle to get their merger past European regulators.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Royal Bank of Scotland has been forced to call off the sale of its Indian business to HSBC despite the taxpayer-backed lender effectively paying its larger rival to take the unit off its hands.
  • The Independent: The private equity investor seeking to acquire Theo Fennell, the loss-making retailer of luxury jewellery, has been granted an extension to its deadline to hammer out a deal.
  • Financial Times: The management and two big shareholders of Dutch marine transport company Dockwise, which operates the world's largest heavy-lift ships, have rejected the €682 million takeover offer made early this week by marine services company Boskalis as too low.
  • Financial Times: SThree, the white-collar recruiter, has said it is to slow its expansion into emerging markets and focus on consolidating its position in existing locations, amid a tough jobs market.
  • Financial Times: Castlebeck, the care company at the centre of allegations of abuse against vulnerable patients, is set to be taken over in the latest example of deal activity in the healthcare services sector.
  • Financial Times: Vodafone has accelerated its integration of Cable & Wireless Worldwide.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The Bank of England's monetary policy is designed to stimulate growth and investment. The truth is it's having the opposite effect.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): The sheer number of people out of work in the eurozone is horrifying. But perhaps the most heartbreaking part is that a generation of young southern Europeans risks being sacrificed in euro crisis.
  • The Independent (Comment): Old Mutual seems unembarrassed by its links with Mugabe's Zimbabwe - the company has a big reputation to look after, in the UK and around the world.
  • The Independent (Comment): Comet might be the only casualty this Christmas, but watch out next year - this country still has far too many shops unless the economy recovers dramatically.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Groupon – shares have tanked, not because of an unpopular boss, but because investors have realised that Groupon is in a bad business.

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