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Tuesday Papers: Vodafone opts to merge India unit

And bad managers to blame for UK’s productivity crisis, says Bank of England’s chief economist.

Tuesday Papers: Vodafone opts to merge India unit

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Vodafone has struck a deal to merge its Indian operations with local rival Idea Cellular to create the country’s largest mobile phone operator, valued at more than $23 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Bad managers stand accused of holding back economic growth in the UK by undermining productivity, preventing pay and living standards rising.
  • The Guardian: Theresa May has informed the European council that she will trigger article 50 on Wednesday 29 March, but European sources have made clear that Britain could be forced to wait until June to embark on formal talks.
  • The Times: Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life have given more details about how the joint chief executives of the enlarged business will split their roles in an attempt to head off investors’ concern.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s home care industry is “on the brink of collapse” with companies either going bankrupt or pulling out of contracts, according to a joint report by the Local Government Information Unit and one of the country’s biggest providers.
  • Financial Times: Mars is introducing Maltesers into the US, marking its first chocolate brand launch in its home market in 20 years, as the confectionery-to-pet food conglomerate battles to recover some of the market share it has lost to rival Hershey in America.
  • Financial Times: Google’s European operations boss has publicly apologised to its advertisers after a growing crisis over extremist content on YouTube led big companies such as Marks and Spencer and Havas to freeze their Google ads.

Business and economics

  • The Times: Goldman Sachs and a group of hedge funds have become the first foreign investors in Iceland since the country’s announcement last week that it was ending capital controls put in place during the financial crisis.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned oil and gas companies that failing to adapt to the lower carbon energy agenda could lead to over a trillion dollars worth of assets being abandoned by 2050.
  • The Guardian: The mobile phone company Three has experienced a fresh data breach after some customers logging into their accounts were presented with the names, addresses, phone numbers and call histories of strangers.
  • The Guardian: More than 35,000 motorists have joined a class action lawsuit against VW in England and Wales over the emissions scandal.
  • The Times: Tesco has shaken up its international management team as Britain’s largest grocery group continues to reorganise its overseas business and turn round its operations.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Challenger bank Secure Trust is pushing into the mortgage market by offering loans to people who struggle to borrow from the big high street banks, such as the self-employed.
  • The Times: UK cities are the cheapest they have been for 20 years to foreign visitors after a sharp decline in the value of the pound following the Brexit referendum, according to a global survey.
  • The Times: Southwark has become the second London borough to introduce formal protection for pubs from demolition or redevelopment as mini-supermarkets, estate agents, homes or shops.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Troubled oil explorer JKX Oil has drawn a line under its most difficult year to date by halving its full year losses under the leadership of a new board.
  • Financial Times: Eric Bischof, a top financial services banker who advised the US government during the 2008 financial crisis, has been poached from Morgan Stanley and will join Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group has appointed Russel Griggs to independently review business customers who were victims of fraud perpetrated by former HBOS employees.
  • The Times: The president of Uber Jeff James issued a scathing criticism of the scandal-hit company as he quit after just six months in the job.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The ousted boss of troubled aerospace and technology group Cobham will get a £1 million golden parachute despite presiding over the company going into a tailspin.
  • Financial Times: Bentley Motors, the luxury carmaker, has lost a legal battle to prevent a small Manchester clothing company using the famous name on its products.
  • Financial Times: UBS faces criminal trial in France after failing to agree a settlement with prosecutors over allegations it helped wealthy clients to evade tax authorities.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD John Laing; BUY Hansteen Holdings; BUY Phoenix Group.
  • Daily Mail (Trader tips): BUY Low & Bonar as shares look cheaper compared to rivals; SELL Gym Group
  • The Times: Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brandsare understood to be in discussions with Palmer & Harvey over investing in the cash-and-carry group in return for a stake in the business.
  • The Times: Finsbury Food Group is banking on a new range of Mary Berry cakes to increase profits; the cakes, bread and baked snacks maker has won a licence with the former Great British Bake Off judge to produce nine cakes that would be sold in the big supermarkets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Moneycorp is hoping to acquire at least two businesses outside of Europe this year as the UK-based foreign exchange provider looks to grow in North America and beyond.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Two heads could be equal to none in Aberdeen and Standard Life tie-up.
  • The Times (Comment): Foreign takeovers are one area where taking back control can work.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Internet advertising: this time it’s personal.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Hansteen: a well-timed deal turns the property group into a potential bid target.
  • Financial Times (Lex): UK challenger banks: expect share price outperformance to continue.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Vodafone/Idea: putting its interests into a listed company gives the UK telecoms group choices.
  • Financial Times (Lex): China Shenhua Energy: coal supplier’s shares may look cheap at 12 times forecast earnings. But this is pricey.

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