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Thursday Papers: StanChart eyes US countersuit

And News Corp in $2.8 billion publishing writedown.

 
Thursday Papers: StanChart eyes US countersuit

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Standard Chartered has sought advice about whether it can pursue a legal action against the US regulator that on Monday accused the British bank of being a rogue institution which had funded $250 billion of Iranian sanctions breaches.
  • Financial Times: News Corp has written down its newspaper businesses by $2.8 billion and taken a $224 million charge to cover the costs of investigations into scandals at its UK titles, as it announced full-year revenues that fell short of forecasts.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Chief executive Peter Sands admitted that “mistakes were made” at Standard Chartered, for which he was “very sorry,” but insisted that a New York regulator’s portrayal of the bank as a rogue institution was “inaccurate.”
  • Financial Times: Hewlett-Packard, the struggling US technology conglomerate, said it was taking an $8 billion writedown related to the division dominated by the former EDS technology services group, which it bought for $14billion in 2008.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Morgan Stanley, under fire to boost profit margins in its retail brokerage arm, is considering closing offices, laying off staff and requiring some branch managers also to generate revenue as advisers under a cost-cutting drive.
  • The Guardian: The Financial Services Authority has handed information to the Serious Fraud Office about an ongoing investigation to funds raised by Barclays in 2008 which helped the bank avoid a taxpayer bailout.
  • Daily Mail: The British pound halted its recent slide after Bank of England boss Sir Mervyn King on Wednesday doused expectations of an interest rate cut to 0.25%.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Sir Mervyn King, Bank of England governor, said he does not believe US regulators are engaging in a trade war against UK banks in the wake of allegations against Standard Chartered.
  • Financial Times: South Korea plans to restart imports of Iranian oil after refiners said Tehran had offered to deliver crude on its own tankers and provide up to $1 billion insurance cover for the vessels.
  • The Independent: Olympic sponsor McDonald's clattered into the hurdles on Wednesday as the fast-food behemoth reported its worst sales in nine years during July.
  • The Guardian: Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, which briefly outsold Apple in the US only a year ago, has joined Nokia and BlackBerry on the mobile industry casualty list after a £750 million crash in its stock market value.
  • Financial Times: Rio Tinto is sticking to plans to plough $16 billion into development projects this year on hopes of a pick-up in Chinese growth.
  • The Daily Telegraph: International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, has loaned out its entire €550 million stake in the Amadeus airline booking system as part of a hedging operation to lock in its soaring value.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: The Bank of England's governor Sir Mervyn King hinted at further action to boost the ailing UK economy on Wednesday after the Bank slashed its 2012 growth forecast to zero and said inflation was under control.
  • Financial Times: Japan’s trade deficit quintupled in the first half of 2012 to $31.8 billion, as soaring fuel bills after the Fukushima nuclear crisis were compounded by lower exports.
  • Financial Times: South Korean regulators are set to overhaul the system used to calculate loan rates amid a high-profile probe that local media have dubbed “Korea’s Libor scandal”.
  • The Independent: Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary suffered a setback last night after his attempt to block a competition inquiry into his minority stake in rival Aer Lingus was thrown out.
  • Financial Times: Google is launching a challenge to Apple with a voice-enabled search app for the iPhone that will compete directly with the Siri personal assistant.
  • The Guardian: Cathay Pacific posted a loss of £77 million for the first six months of 2012, as high fuel prices, global economic slump and euzozone crisis hit passenger numbers and air cargo demand.
  • Financial Times: The proportion of senior unsecured debt issued by banks in Europe this year has fallen below 50% of new issuance for the first time in five years.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Anger over the amount of tax paid by Google in the UK could escalate after documents showed the web giant contributed just £6 million to the exchequer in 2011 on UK profits of £395 million.
  • Financial Times: BSkyB has won a five-year important battle against regulators’ attempts to force the satellite broadcaster to lower the price at which it sells sports programming to competitors, shocking rivals such as BT and Virgin Media as it prevailed in its appeal.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Amancio Ortega has been placed third on Bloomberg's latest list of the world's richest people thanks to his fashion company Inditex, which owns high street shop Zara.
  • Financial Times: China’s largest independent online clothing retailer by sales has started shifting production overseas in an effort to cut labour rates and beat the country’s rapidly rising production costs.
  • The Independent: AstraZeneca and BTG on Wednesday axed plans to develop a new drug to treat severe blood poisoning after it failed medical trials.
  • Financial Times: Carlyle Group has had its best quarter for fundraising since 2008, said the Washington-based private equity group, revealing that it raised a gross $3.9 billion from investors across its funds.
  • Financial Times: Telecom Italia has come under further scrutiny in Brazil after it emerged that the Italian group’s local mobile phone unit is being investigated for possible fraud amid a widespread crackdown in the sector.
  • The Independent: Leading hotel chain InterContinental is to create 180 jobs by opening a new site in a former government building, and will offer employment opportunities to British war veterans.
  • Financial Times: Aquarius Platinum said its recent closure of two South African mines would help it to survive a prolonged slump in platinum prices but admitted it was vulnerable to further economic turmoil in Europe.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Daily Express: BP has offloaded a UK business that supplies liquefied petroleum gas for heating, cooking and industrial work to Dublin-based support services group DCC for £40.5 million.
  • Financial Times: Biffa, the UK’s second-biggest waste management company by sales, has received a £520 million cash offer from a consortium of Chinook Urban Mining, the London-based recycling specialist, and Clearbrook Capital, the private equity investor.
  • The Guardian: The bid to take American electricals retailer Best Buy private could trigger the end of its joint venture with Carphone Warehouse and net a £660 million profit for Charles Dunstone's business.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Heineken's $6 billion bid for Asia Pacific Breweries faces a challenge from a group linked to Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, which could force the Dutch brewer to pay more to control the maker of Tiger beer.
  • Financial Times: Answers.com, a questions and answer site, is in talks with the publisher of the New York Times to buy About Group for about $270 million.
  • Financial Times: Crédit Agricole received offers Wednesday evening from three Greek banks - National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank and Eurobank - for selling its local lossmaking subsidiary Emporiki Bank in a signal of disengagement from the country.
  • Financial Times: The initial public offering of Manchester United is on track to be finalised by Thursday evening in spite of some criticism over how one of the world’s most supported football clubs is going public.
  • Financial Times: Liberty Media, John Malone’s holding company, plans to spin off its Starz entertainment company, giving Liberty more firepower in its battle for Sirius XM, the satellite radio company.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Given these allegations of money laundering for Iran, isn't it time for top bankers to face personal accountability, not token fines?
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Amid the euphoria of Britain’s Olympic triumphs, it was a wearily familiar story on Wednesday from the Bank of England, which has brought us back to reality with a bump.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Facebook/HP: those who would snap up either need to think less about prices and multiples than about what might bring about a change in the fundamentals.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Cathay Pacific: the Hong Kong-based airline is more exposed to the vagaries of high fuel prices and weak freight demand than its rivals.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Rio Tinto: the falling iron ore price is not flustering the mining company as much as it is investors. They have a point.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Heineken: the Dutch brewer is faced with an unattractive three way choice after a Thai brewer gatecrashed its efforts to win control of Asia Pacific Breweries.

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