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Thursday Papers: Barclays fined a record $450m

And Hague’s audit plan boosts eurosceptics.

 
Thursday Papers: Barclays fined a record $450m

Top stories

  • Financial Times: US and UK authorities have fined Barclays more than $450 million for attempting to manipulate the London interbank offered rate.
  • Financial Times: William Hague, the British foreign secretary, wants to launch a comprehensive audit of the impact of European Union law on Britain this summer, an exercise that could fuel a Conservative drive to repatriate powers from Brussels.
  • Financial Times: Glencore is ready to walk away from its $58 billion merger with Xstrata if a group of dissident shareholders led by the Qatari sovereign wealth fund do not drop their demands for a much higher premium.
  • The Guardian: There were calls for Barclays chief Bob Diamond to step down after the Financial Services Authority slapped a £59.5 million fine on the bank – the largest ever levied by the City regulator - forcing him and other top executives to forgo any bonuses for 2012.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BP has regained some control over the running of Russian joint venture TNK-BP, securing the agreement of its oligarch partners to meet as a board next month for the first time since December.
  • Financial Times: Google has unveiled a prototype of a pair of “smart” glasses designed to carry out many of the functions currently done on a smartphone, such as sharing pictures and accessing information.
  • Daily Mail: The Shareholder Spring claimed one of its most resounding victories yet as Xstrata was forced to tear up and redraw loyalty bonuses attached to its £50 billion merger with Glencore.
  • The Independent: Sony's chairman Sir Howard Stringer was heckled by investors who vented their fury at the annual meeting after the electronics giant made a record loss of £3.68 billion.
  • Financial Times: Peter Madoff, the brother of convicted Ponzi fraudster Bernard Madoff, is expected to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and falsifying business records in a deal with the US government that will see him penalised a nominal $143.1 billion.
  • Financial Times: Senior European officials worked behind closed doors to agree short-term measures to help lower Spanish and Italian borrowing costs ahead of a high-stakes EU summit on Thursday, but Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, dug in her heels, dubbing such quick remedies as “eyewash and fake solutions”.
  • Financial Times: Apple has won a court order blocking US sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.
  • Financial Times: Google opened two new fronts in the computer hardware wars on Wednesday with the launch of a new 7-inch tablet and a living-room media device running its latest Android software.
  • Financial Times: Microsoft suffered another defeat at the hands of the European Commission, after failing to overturn a hefty fine in a court battle that is likely to draw the curtain on an antitrust feud lasting more than a decade.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Brazilian authorities have granted Vale the first licence for its $19.4 billion Serra Sul project, which is poised to double output at Carajás, the world’s biggest iron ore mine.
  • Financial Times: The state prosecution has demanded that Jérôme Kerviel serve five years in prison for wracking up huge losses at Société Générale on uncovered trades.
  • The Daily Telegraph: T-Mobile USA chief executive Philipp Humm resigned on Wednesday, six months after a planned merger of the telecom group with AT&T fell apart.
  • Financial Times: Some of the world’s biggest energy companies, including ExxonMobil and Gazprom, have been thrust into the deteriorating territorial dispute between China and Vietnam in the resource-rich South China Sea.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Spain's prime minister warned that his country cannot continue to finance itself and he called for Europe to move urgently to reduce unsustainably high interest rates.
  • Financial Times: Gerhard Gribkowsky, a German banker, has been jailed for taking bribes from Bernie Ecclestone at the end of a long court case that generated fresh criticism of the Formula One chief executive.
  • Financial Times: Monsanto, the world’s biggest seedmaker by revenues, said net income in its fiscal third quarter was $937 million, or $1.74 a share, up from $692 million, or $1.28, in the same period last year.
  • The Independent: Irish drinks firm C&C expects operating profits for the full year to come in between €112 million and €118 million.
  • Financial Times: Goldman Sachs has launched its new electronic bond trading platform as part of the investment bank’s efforts to restore liquidity in the corporate debt market and keep customers.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The founder of Best Buy, America's largest electronics retailer, is said to be working on a plan to take the struggling chain private.
  • Financial Times: AstraZeneca has deferred the break-up of its longstanding partnership with Merck of the US in a move that allows it to conserve several hundred million dollars in cash in the short term for acquisitions and share buybacks.
  • The Independent: British Airways will start a number of new services in winter 2012/13 following its takeover of the bmi airline.
  • Financial Times: Standard Chartered, the London-based emerging markets bank, has said pre-tax profit in the first half of the year would grow by less than 10% year-on-year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Yule Catto said in a trading update it expects its business to be hurt by the uncertainty caused by the eurozone crisis, volatility of the euro and weak nitrile demand in Asia.
  • Financial Times: Twitter is preparing to introduce new measures to reduce the visibility of “hate speech” or “trolling” on the site.
  • Financial Times: The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against Philip Falcone and his hedge fund group Harbinger Capital Partners, alleging he used customer funds to pay his taxes, manipulated markets and gave favourable treatment to certain clients.
  • Financial Times: Nomura Holdings’ shareholders re-elected chief executive Kenichi Watanabe at the annual meeting on Wednesday.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Guardian: Lloyds Banking Group agreed on Wednesday to press ahead with a sale of 632 branches to the Co-operative Bank after it rejected a rival offer from the private equity start-up NBNK.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Porsche is facing lawsuits in excess of €4 billion over its controversial attempted takeover of Volkswagen.
  • Financial Times: Dexia is in final talks with three potential buyers of its asset management arm, the last stage of a break-up of the twice-bailed-out Belgo-French bank.
  • Financial Times: Daily Mail and General Trust has agreed to sell the site of its London printworks to British Land, which declined to disclose the price it paid.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): It needs to be uncovered just how far this market-fixing went - this has all the makings of systemic scandal.
  • The Guardian (Comment): The eurozone crisis will bring the deluge for UK politics.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): If money makes the world go around, Libor makes the money go around first. It's at the heart of everything, and dishonestly manipulating Libor is nothing less than manipulating the price of money itself.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Angela Merkel isn't bluffing; like everyone else in Europe, she's defending national sovereignty.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): The person who will be most relieved at the £290 million settlement between Barclays and the UK and American authorities over the manipulation of market interest rates will be Stephen Hester of Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Google hardware: the launch of the Nexus 7 will give the search engine group and media’s rivals pause for thought but the aim must be to attract online custom.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Barclays: the episode has given investors three reasons to worry and might encourage calls for the heads of senior managers to roll.
  • Financial Times (Lex): EU banking union: a pressing issue is agreement on depositor protection but the trouble is that Europe’s banks dwarf their respective home economies.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Glencore/Xstrata: demands by Qatari investors for a higher price to complete the “merger of equals” will most likely end up with all parties agreeing to meet half way.

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