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Saturday Papers: Comet administrators to close 40 stores

And Marcus Agius, the former Barclays chairman who resigned amid the Libor-fixing scandal, may be kept on by the bank in a consultancy role.

 
Saturday Papers: Comet administrators to close 40 stores

Top stories

  • The Daily Telegraph: Administrators to Comet plan to close 40 stores by the end of the month, treatening up to 1,000 jobs.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Marcus Agius, the former Barclays chairman who resigned amid the Libor-fixing scandal, may be kept on by the bank in a consultancy role, it was reported.
  • The Independent: Financial Services Authority is to investigate whether its former deputy chairman Sir James Crosby had an "undue influence" on its oversight of HBOS in the run-up to the bank's near collapse, it emerged last night.
  • Financial Times: Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Chase agreed to pay roughly $417 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission civil charges alleging that the banks misled investors in residential mortgage-backed securities.
  • Financial Times: Wall Street suffered a second week of heavy losses following the US election as continued uncertainty over a resolution of the fiscal cliff weighed on investors; the S&P 500 fell 1.5% to 1,360 on the week, the Dow Jones declined 1.7% and the Nasdaq dropped 1.8%.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Greece will eventually need another debt writedown, the head of Germany's central bank has said, as IMF chief Christine Lagarde urged Europe's leaders to forge a deal next week to help it get "back on its feet".

Business and economics

  • The Daily Telegraph: The US Justice Department and the state of California is suing online retailer eBay over what they called an illegal agreement with Intuit not to recruit Intuit's employees.
  • The Independent: Mark Wilson, former boss of Asian insurer AIA, has emerged as the frontrunner to become the next Aviva chief executive.
  • Financial Times: Deutsche Bank has suffered a setback in its long-running legal battle with a German media tycoon after a judge cast doubt on evidence from its former chief executive and said the bank may have to pay up to €1.5 billion in damages.
  • The Guardian: Dell’s quarterly reports show profits falling 48% year on year, with executives warning trend will continue into 2013.
  • Daily Express: Paddy Power said revenues rose 23% between July and mid-November compared with last year despite pressures from the Olympics and poor weather.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BAE Systems has begun the overhaul of its board following the collapse of merger talks with EADS by naming the former finance director of Diageo as its new senior independent director.
  • Daily Express: Serco said it was set for a sales boost yesterday after clinching a raft of new ¬contracts ranging from -running Indian buses to teaching British youngsters life skills.
  • The Guardian: Congressional leaders expressed cautious optimism Friday about reaching a deal with the Obama administration that will avert a debt and spending crisis next year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Greece is turning to the Middle East, Russia and China in a bid to secure funds as its European paymasters continue to squabble about its debt levels.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Hostess Brands, the bankrupt maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, has sought court permission to close its business after failing to reach agreement with thousands of striking bakery workers.
  • The Independent: Well-heeled Middle Eastern shoppers increased their spending by half in the UK last month, making them the most important group for retailers from outside the European Union.
  • The Independent: In a sign of hope for southern Europe, new data shows exports from Greece and Portugal grew strongly in the first eight months of this year and lifted the eurozone's trade surplus.
  • Financial Times: A group of 22 pension funds that sued Henderson Equity Partners, an infrastructure fund, were dealt a blow on Friday when a High Court judge ruled against them on preliminary issues in a case that tests the liability of fund managers.
  • Financial Times: Man Group, the world’s second largest hedge fund manager by assets, has booked a $110 million profit by selling on its claims against the estate of failed bank Lehman Brothers.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Daily Express: Reckitt Benckiser has launched a $1.4 billion cash offer to add US vitamins and supplements company Schiff Nutrition to its healthcare and consumer products empire, setting up a potential bidding war with German healthcare giant Bayer.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Guy Hands is poised to agree a £3.5 billion deal with Japanese bank Nomura to take control of Annington Homes, which manages almost 60,000 Army houses in the UK.
  • Financial Times: Italy’s largest initial public offering this year will begin marketing next week after SEA, which manages Milan’s Malpensa and Linate airports, approved a price range that values the company at as much as €1.1 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Sportingbet chief Andrew McIver could walk away with a pay-off of up to £2.4 million if William Hill's proposed £530 million takeover is finalised.
  • Financial Times: Ireland’s ASL Aviation Group has agreed to buy TNT Express's two airlines for an undisclosed sum, provided that UPS's €5.2 billion acquisition of the Dutch logistics company goes through.
  • Daily Express: Anglo American and cement maker Lafarge have sold one of the UK’s biggest concrete plants to Indian tycoon Lakshmi Mittal for £272 million.
  • The Guardian: A for sale sign has been hoisted over boutique hotel chains Malmaison and Hotel du Vin after its listed parent company, MWB Group Holdings, collapsed into administration under the weight of its huge debt pile.
  • Financial Times: Brooks Macdonald has acquired Spearpoint, the Channel Islands-based fund manager, for £23.1 million, in the latest example of consolidation in wealth management.
  • Financial Times: Iconix Brand Group, which owns the rights to the Peanuts cartoon strip featuring Snoopy, Charlie Brown and their friends, sold $600 million of bonds backed by the revenues from its portfolio of brands.
  • Financial Times: Fraser and Neave’s shares hit record highs on Friday after two Asian billionaires went head to head in a bid war for the property and beverages conglomerate.
  • Financial Times: AIG and JC Flowers are among the leading contenders to take big stakes in China’s PICC Group ahead of the insurance company’s $4 billion listing in Hong Kong at the end of November.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Fiscal cliff hysteria is manipulated by self-serving deficit hawks; missing the January deadline simply means those who want to preserve Bush tax cuts for the super-rich lose political leverage.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Harry Winston - company is better placed than BHP Billiton to extend the Ekati mine’s life and to wring more out of it.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Reckitt Benckiser has stolen Bayer’s thunder by launching a counterbid for Schiff, the US vitamins company. But can it justify the price?

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