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Saturday Papers: Alphabet enterprise value nudge ahead of Apple

And world stock markets recover from week’s heavy losses, with shares boosted by rising oil prices and ECB meeting.

 
Saturday Papers: Alphabet enterprise value nudge ahead of Apple

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Alphabet, the holding company for Google, has overtaken Apple to become the world’s most valuable company, based on one important yardstick.
  • The Guardian: Global stock markets bounced back at the end of a tumultuous week as policymakers sought to play down fears the world was on the brink of a fresh financial crisis.
  • Financial Times: Google has reached a settlement with the UK to pay £130 million in back taxes and higher taxes in future in a deal that could pave the way to it paying more in other countries where it is accused, along with other multinationals, of aggressive tax avoidance.
  • Financial Times: Several of the world’s biggest oil and gas groups - including Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Chesapeake Energy - are among 175 energy and mining companies at risk of rating downgrades following a collapse in crude and other commodities markets, Moody’s warned on Friday.
  • The Guardian: The world’s largest oilfield services company Schlumberger has lost more than $1 billion and cut a further 10,000 jobs.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The European Central Bank has ample ammunition to fight a fresh global downturn and is ready to act decisively to stave off deflation if necessary, Mario Draghi has assured nervous investors in Davos.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s biggest banks are planning to launch “robo-advisers” in a bold move to provide investment advice with a digital twist to thousands of consumers, only a few years after they were forced out of the market for mis-selling.
  • Financial Times: Philips’ plans to sell a lighting business to a Chinese-backed private equity fund have collapsed after the $3 billion deal was blocked by the US government over “unforeseen concerns”.

Business and economics

  • The Independent: George Osborne is still on course to miss his borrowing target by as much as £10 billion, despite better news on the deficit, experts warned.
  • The Guardian: Lawsuit proceedings reveal that Google paid handsomely to be default search option for iPhones and iPads and that company’s total revenue from Android is just $31 billion.
  • The Independent: GE Healthcare, one of the biggest suppliers of equipment and testing services to the NHS pays barely any corporate tax in the UK, despite receiving hundreds of millions of pounds a year from medical sales to British clinics and hospitals.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Bad debts in the Chinese banking system are four or five times higher than officially admitted and pose a mounting risk to the country's financial stability, the world's leading expert on debt has warned.
  • Financial Times: Airlines’ financing costs for new jets are tumbling, lenders have said, as competition steps up between banks and new providers for a slice of the booming aircraft market.
  • The Guardian: Amazon is creating more than 2,500 permanent jobs in the UK this year as it expands across the country.
  • Financial Times: Market turbulence has hit Winterflood Securities, Europe’s largest market-maker, leading to lower profitability over the past five months, its owner Close Brothers has said.
  • Financial Times: Hyundai Heavy Industries is to temporarily shut one of its two factories making offshore oil rigs, due to a dearth of orders as the crude price rout forces international oil companies to cut spending.
  • Financial Times: Sotheby’s has scrapped its dividend and made plans to bring overseas earnings back to the US to boost its share buyback programme, as the auction house balances pressure from activist investors and intensifying competition in the art market.
  • The Guardian: With his bank’s net income down 31% year-over-year, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein saw a 4% reduction in compensation in 2015, down $1 million to $23 million.
  • The Guardian: Unilever is to cut the size of British ice-creams including Magnum, Cornetto, Ben & Jerry’s and Feast by up to a third to bring them all under 250 calories.
  • Financial Times: David Cameron’s government has come under fire after coming up with a new reason for delaying a decision on whether to expand Heathrow airport: the forthcoming EU referendum.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Barclays’ retreat from Asia is set to gather pace after it hired Lazard to advise on the planned sale of its wealth management operation in the region that is likely to be valued at more than $500 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Financial Times: KKR is to partner with one of China’s biggest state-owned bad banks to invest in distressed debt, as foreign investors look to profit from rising defaults as the Chinese economy slows.
  • Financial Times: Corbis, the image licensing company owned by Bill Gates, has sold its picture library business to Visual China Group in the latest US media acquisition by a Chinese buyer.
  • Financial Times: FTSE 100 retail landlord Hammerson has bought Birmingham’s Grand Central shopping centre for £335 million in the latest vote of investor confidence for the UK’s second city.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Lay-offs may be in fashion but history suggests axing for the sake of cost-cutting rarely pays.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Why much cheaper oil isn’t all good news.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Extractive downgrades: Moody’s has taken too long to cut its rating on the natural resources sector.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bear territory: numerological rules for defining a bear market are basically hooey.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Asset managers: times may get tougher for Europe’s fund groups.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US airlines: carriers make the right noises but concerns about global economic growth mount.

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