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Wednesday Papers: Facebook resists UK attempts to claim back-tax

And Apple's sales will decline for the first time in over a decade, the company has predicted.

Wednesday Papers: Facebook resists UK attempts to claim back-tax

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Facebook is resisting attempts by Britain’s tax authorities to reclaim back-taxes, a stance likely to heighten public anger over aggressive avoidance by US technology giants.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Apple's sales will decline for the first time in over a decade, the company has predicted, marking an end to a run that has made it the world’s biggest company and the most famous name in technology.
  • Financial Times: Bill Ackman has fallen out of a list of the top 20 best-performing hedge fund managers of all time one year on from breaking into it after his Pershing Square fund lost several billion dollars over 2015.
  • The Guardian: The grocery market watchdog has ordered Tesco to make “significant changes” in the way it deals with suppliers after finding the supermarket had deliberately delayed payments to boost its profits.
  • The Daily Telegraph: EDF has delayed its final investment decision on the Hinkley Point new nuclear plant yet again, amid claims it is still struggling to finalise funding for the £18 billion project.
  • Financial Times: George Soros, the man who broke the Bank of England and, according to some, helped precipitate the Asian financial crisis has been warned off going to “war on the renminbi” by Beijing.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Andrew Bailey, a deputy governor at the Bank of England in charge of supervising the banking sector, will take over the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • The Guardian: The World Bank has slashed its forecast for oil prices this year, saying the cost of a barrel of crude will stay near its current lows for the rest of 2016.
  • Financial Times: Chinese companies have raised twice as much capital in equity markets so far this year as those in the US and Europe combined - even as a plunge in mainland markets has triggered turmoil around the world.
  • The Guardian: Google is poised to confirm next week that controversial tax structures in Ireland, the Netherlands and Bermuda have boosted its offshore cash mountain to more than $43 billion (£30 billion), figures from financial analysts suggest.
  • Financial Times: American International Group’s chief executive has pledged to return $25 billion to shareholders as he defies demands from activist investors Carl Icahn and John Paulson to break up the world’s fourth most valuable insurance company.
  • The Independent: EasyJet suffered a sharp slowdown in demand last autumn after terror attacks deterred holidaymakers, but the budget airline said record low oil prices would keep it on course for higher profits.
  • The Independent: The oil price crash looks “remarkably similar” to the subprime mortgage crisis, according to analysts at one US Bank.
  • Financial Times: The European Commission’s handling of bailouts in Ireland, Portugal and other nations hit by the financial crisis has been criticised as “generally weak” by the EU’s in-house auditors, who pointed to major inconsistencies in how different countries were treated.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Royal Bank of Scotland should soon start paying out billions of pounds to shareholders as its near-decade of litigation, compensation and bad loan losses comes to an end , according to analysts at UBS.
  • Financial Times: Cheap land and government initiatives to promote housebuilding helped the FTSE 250 builder Crest Nicholson to a 32% jump in pre-tax profit for the year to the end of October.
  • Financial Times: Brussels is piling the pressure on Volkswagen to provide compensation to millions of car owners in Europe affected by the emissions scandal, warning that such a gesture is needed before the German company can move on from the reputational damage wreaked by the affair.
  • The Guardian: Internet company Yahoo has been accused of aiding in the slaughter of elephants by allowing the trade of ivory on its Japanese auction site.
  • Financial Times: Dixons Carphone, the UK’s largest electrical and mobile phone retailer, is to close more than 130 stores as it rolls out a “three-in-one” format combining its three main brands in one store.
  • Financial Times: Mario Greco, the highly regarded chief executive of Generali, is quitting the Italian insurer he turned round to fill the vacant CEO position at Swiss rival Zurich Insurance.
  • Financial Times: The strong dollar is taking its toll on the world’s largest consumer goods companies, forcing many to raise prices and cut costs amid an increasingly unsettled global economic environment that is prompting warnings about volatile trading ahead.
  • Daily Mail: Argos has lost a key lieutenant just days before Sainsbury’s is expected to make a fresh bid to snap up the High Street chain; David Robinson, who was chief operating officer at Argos, and widely credited for turning the business around, is to join Wine Rack owner Conviviality Retail.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Shares in PZ Cussons have slumped by as much as 13% after the maker of Imperial Leather soap battled the effects of weak consumer spending in its key African market.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Online estate agent Purplebricks presented a mixed bag in its first set of results since listing on London's junior Aim market in December.
  • Financial Times: Sprint, the struggling US wireless group, signed up more than 350,000 of the most lucrative mobile phone customers in its most recent quarter and reported earnings that were much higher than Wall Street analysts were expecting.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Scottish Government is calling for an urgent meeting with the UK Treasury to demand the North Sea’s tax burden is cut.
  • Financial Times: HSBC and Barclays have pulled out of the Council of Mortgage Lenders after a proposal emerged at the end of last year to combine it with the banking industry body and other financial trade groups, according to people familiar with the situation.
  • Financial Times: JP Morgan Chase will be left almost $2.5 billion out of pocket after the US bank finally settled two of its biggest legal headaches left over from the financial crisis.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Carpetright slid more than 11% after the UK’s largest flooring company said increased competition and changing tastes would hit profits per sale this year.
  • Financial Times: Philips insisted it was on track to complete a major restructuring this year, in spite of the collapse last week of a deal to dispose of the Dutch conglomerate’s automotive lighting business.
  • Financial Times: Amazon’s heavy investment in its web services business is expected to come under further scrutiny when the company reports earnings for a year in which its cloud services provider has taken the spotlight.
  • The Guardian: The controversial trade deal between Europe and the US has come under further fire after campaigners accused the government of blocking access to legal advice that shows its impact on the health service.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Freeport-McMoRan is extending the list of assets it is willing to sell as the deepening commodities rout makes it more difficult for the US copper and oil producer to deal with its $20 billion of debt.
  • Financial Times: Lockheed Martin is to sell its information technology and services unit to Leidos in a cash-and-shares transaction valued at $5bn as part of a drive to refocus on its core aerospace and defence business.
  • Financial Times: Zoomlion, China’s answer to Caterpillar, has made a $3.3 billion attempt to gatecrash a deal between its US and Finnish rivals that would create one of the world’s biggest cranemakers.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Markets braced for Venezuela debt default.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Apple: as iPhone sales go into decline, the group is determined to show it is more than a hardware company.
  • Financial Times (Lex): AIG: stakes in the ground.
  • Financial Times (Lex): UK mobile: investor expectations meet competitive pressures.
  • Financial Times (Lex): American Apparel: Frayed bonds.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Philips: the divestment of the lighting business will take longer, but should still be worth it.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Samsung SDI: Tesla and Samsung sell battery innovation at very different prices.

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