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Friday Papers: Google’s core search engine gets US all-clear

Friday Papers: Google’s core search engine gets US all-clear

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The US has ended a sweeping antitrust investigation of Google without imposing any sanctions on its core search business, even as the US internet company negotiates more extensive changes to its business practices with regulators in Europe.
  • Financial Times: Italy’s central bank has blocked all electronic payments through cash machines and by credit cards in Vatican City following the world’s smallest state’s failure to fully comply with international anti-money laundering rules.
  • The Guardian: Twitter is preparing to take the company public in 2014, and could already be worth as much as $11 billion, according to a report by specialist financial researchers Greencrest.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The share of euros in the world’s rising powers’ reserve holdings has fallen to its lowest level since 2002, dashing hopes that the single currency will soon challenge the US dollar for global primacy.
  • Financial Times: Transocean, the offshore drilling contractor that owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon rig that sank in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, has agreed a $1.4 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice to resolve civil and criminal claims against it.
  • Daily Mail: Shell is preparing to re-assess its Arctic drilling plans in the light of the latest setback in a trouble-strewn exploration campaign that has cost £3 billion but produced no oil.
  • Financial Times: Wegelin, Switzerland’s oldest private bank, agreed to pay $57.8 million in restitution and fines and pleaded guilty to charges that it helped US citizens evade paying taxes on $1.2 billion held in offshore accounts.
  • Financial Times: Goldman Sachs paid 10 of its top executives $65 million worth of restricted stock hours before Congress voted to raise taxes on wealthy individuals as part of its fiscal cliff deal.
  • The Independent: After only two months at the helm of defence firm Chemring, new chief executive Mark Papworth on Thursday used the firm’s own ejector seats, replacing his finance boss and appointing a head of human resources in a boardroom shake-up.
  • Financial Times: Lord Sassoon, the former Treasury minister, is to join Jardine Matheson as an executive board member.
  • The Independent: The financier Nat Rothschild has escalated his row with the board of Bumi, after claiming that the latest results from a key subsidiary of the Indonesian coal miner he co-founded lacked credibility.
  • Financial Times: Bumi Resources, the Indonesian coal miner part-owned by London-listed Bumi Plc, lost $632 million in the nine months to September on the back of substantial derivatives losses, as the battle over the business’s future rages.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Mathew Martoma, a former portfolio manager with a unit of the hedge fund SAC Capital, has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he traded shares in two pharmaceutical companies after learning the confidential results of a clinical drug trial, in a $276 million insider trading scheme.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Leni Gas & Oil has launched legal action against rival Mediterranean Oil and Gas, alleging it was misled into selling exploration interests off the coast of Malta at a depressed price.
  • The Guardian: Bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn, once Ireland's richest man, was freed from prison on Thursday.
  • Financial Times: Jet Airways, the Indian carrier, confirmed on Thursday that it was in talks with Etihad Airways about a possible investment by the Abu Dhabi group.
  • Financial Times: Buzzfeed, a fast-growing social news website that publishes everything from funny pictures of cats to long-form reporting on the US presidential race, has secured $19.3 million in funding to bulk up its original editorial content and expand internationally.
  • Financial Times: Britain’s top earners would face a £1 billion tax grab on their pensions contributions to fund a compulsory job scheme for the long-term unemployed, under plans to be set out by Labour on Friday.
  • Financial Times: Officials at the US Federal Reserve are split on whether to keep buying assets until the end of 2013 under the QE3 programme, according to the minutes of their December meeting.
  • The Guardian: Home buyers should find it easier to get a mortgage this year, as banks increase the availability of loans, according to a report from the Bank of England.
  • The Independent: House prices are languishing at 12% below their 2007 peak in the UK and face another year in the doldrums, Nationwide has warned.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Vodafone has waded into battle with its regulator, Ofcom, over proposals to make it easier for customers to walk away from contracts if telecoms operators increase the cost of calls.
  • Daily Mail: The Wellcome Trust, which invests in medical and biotech research, has set up a £200 million fund to inject money into promising, small biotech businesses.
  • Financial Times: John Menzies, the UK-based aviation services and newspaper distribution company, has announced that it is closing its cargo handling business in Chicago, capping a restructuring programme that has already resulted in the closure of similar operations at four UK regional airports.
  • Financial Times: Global corporations are poised to raise the first batch of funds in 2013, taking advantage of a jump in risk appetite this week in the wake of a political deal in Washington that averted the fiscal cliff.
  • The Independent: The global carbon market shrank by more than a third to €61 billion in 2012, the lowest level in its five-year history, fuelling concerns that key permit schemes designed to force down CO2 emissions are proving ineffective.
  • The Guardian: Last year, 47,024 British properties tipped into the £1 million-plus price bracket, bringing the total number of UK properties worth more than a million to 300,142 – a 19% increase on the previous year, according to property website Zoopla.co.uk.
  • Financial Times: US car sales jumped by more than 13% in 2012, the fastest growth rate in more than two decades, as the sector fought through economic headwinds to continue rebounding from near-collapse in 2009.
  • The Guardian: Italy's love affair with fast cars has become the latest victim of the eurozone crunch after figures revealed that domestic sales of Ferraris slipped by 56% to 248 cars and Maseratis by 72% to 115 vehicles in 2012.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Holiday giant Thomas Cook has been accused of flouting corporate governance rules by handing its new chief executive, Harriet Green, a two-year notice period to secure her appointment.
  • The Independent: International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways and Iberia, could escape strikes and other industrial action after the Spanish pilots' union agreed to talks on restructuring Iberia by axing staff and cutting salaries.
  • Financial Times: Global IT spending is predicted to grow by 4.2% this year, outpacing expectations of flat growth in the world economy but slowing from an already tepid 2012.
  • The Guardian: Next has pencilled in annual profits of between £611 million and £625 million after a tight rein on costs and fewer markdowns on its Boxing Day sale rack boosted its coffers.
  • Financial Times: Seattle-based Starbucks is opening its debut coffee shop in Vietnam in early February, increasing its presence across Asia to 12 countries.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Television economics rather than politics pose the biggest challenge to Al Jazeera’s US ambitions, analysts said after the Qatari news channel bought Al Gore’s Current TV network for an estimated $300-$500 million.
  • Financial Times: Hormel Foods will acquire Skippy, the number-two peanut butter brand in the US, from Unilever for $700 million, as it seeks to expand beyond its traditional meat business and into international markets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Two former City lawyers are in line for multi-million pound payouts after selling their legal publishing company, Practical Law, to Thomson Reuters, the business information giant.
  • Financial Times: Edward Bramson, the activist investor who is executive chairman of F&C Asset Management, is preparing to take on another midsized UK public company.
  • The Guardian (Comment): As ideas of employment become more obscure and desperate, 2013 is the perfect time to ask what it means to live without it.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): There is a lot more credit available to business but it’s the wrong kind of credit.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Appetite for EU-US trade deal grows as economies stagnate.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): Shell is learning that having the right technology is one thing but dealing with adverse weather conditions is quite another.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US debt ceiling: the last game of chicken ended without a crash. The next one may be different
  • Financial Times (Lex): Healthcare stocks: US hospital stocks are starting to look simpler: the shares are cheap, and policy is favourable
  • Financial Times (Lex): Solar power: despite several encouraging factors, the world’s panel makers remain in a bind.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Container shipping: the horizon may be brighter, but the industry’s journey through boom and bust is likely to remain choppy at best

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