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Saturday Papers: FSA criticised by former HBOS chief

Saturday Papers: FSA criticised by former HBOS chief

Top stories

  • The Daily Telegraph: The Financial Services Authority has been accused of “sinister” and “outrageous” behaviour in singling out HBOS director Peter Cummings for punishment and trying to mask its own failings in regulating Britain’s banks.
  • Financial Times: Discovery Communications announced on Friday a $1.7 billion acquisition of Nordic broadcasting business SBS and a separate partnership with French media group TF1.
  • Financial Times: Wall Street stocks lacked direction this week as all three major US benchmarks finished with muted losses; the S&P 500 declined 0.3% to 1,414 for the week, the Dow Jones lost 0.2% to 13,135, while the Nasdaq was 0.2% lower to 2,971.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Comet is set to disappear from the high street next week in the most high-profile collapse since Woolworths in 2008.
  • Financial Times: Hundreds of thousands of people who own second homes face a rise in their council tax bills within months as local authorities tackle a looming financial crunch.
  • Financial Times: Industrial production in the US jumped by the most in two years in November as manufacturers recovered after superstorm Sandy.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The London Stock Exchange is haggling to change the terms of its agreed €463 million acquisition of a majority stake in the clearing house LCH.Clearnet, reportedly seeking to reduce the buy-out price by as much €200 million.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Official figures showed that Britain's construction activity jumped in October, spurring hopes that the sector might help limit an economic squeeze in the final quarter.
  • The Guardian: Shell has reignited speculation about a potential takeover of BP after its chief executive spoke publicly about the Anglo-Dutch group's recent interest in buying its fiercest rival, whose share price is still recovering from the Gulf of Mexico blowout.
  • The Independent: Sales at Punch Taverns' mainstream pubs are down by 5% over the past four months as trading becomes increasingly difficult with drinkers staying at home.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Big foreign banks with substantial operations in the US would face stricter capital and liquidity requirements under a Fed proposal that reverses more than a decade of policy.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Smythson, the Mayfair stationer where Samantha Cameron works as a creative consultant, has enjoyed a 21% rise in sales thanks to strong demand for its luxury leather goods.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Financial Services Authority is understood to be looking into share dealings at WH Ireland, following the surprise exit of the stockbroker's chief executive.
  • Financial Times: Volex, the electrical cable maker, lost a third of its market value on Friday after issuing its second profit warning in as many months.
  • Financial Times: Moss Bros reported a 3.7% increase in like-for-like sales in the 19 weeks to 8 December; Laura Ashley registered a like-for-like increase of 4.9% during the period, while Sofa sellers DFS reported a 12.3% sales jump to £144 million in the 13 weeks to 2 October.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group has hired Andrew Whittaker, the general counsel of the UK financial regulator, as banks increase their focus on compliance following a clutch of scandals.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Serious Fraud Office has charged Magnus Peterson, the founder of hedge fund Weavering Capital, with fraud.
  • Financial Times: Idox, the Aim-listed software group that counts 90% of Britain’s local authorities as customers, reported a 50% rise in revenues in the year to October.
  • Financial Times: Andrew Newington, one of the chief UK dealmakers at BC Partners, is leaving after 12 years at one of Europe’s biggest private equity groups only months after it raised a new €6.5 billion fund.
  • Financial Times: London-listed Egyptian gold miner Centamin said fuel supplies had been resumed to its site at Sukari in the east of the north African country.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Troubled financier Nat Rothschild has suffered a fresh setback after Volex, the electricals company which he owns nearly a quarter of, issued its second profit warning in three months.
  • Financial Times: General Electric sought to increase the cash it hands back to shareholders by raising its dividend by 12% and authorising the buyback of another $10 billion of its own shares.
  • Financial Times: Manufacturers have announced more than $90 billion worth of investments in the US to take advantage of its cheap natural gas, according to new calculations.
  • Financial Times: Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, the controversial chief executive of Norilsk Nickel, will receive a $100 million payout to step down from his position.
  • Financial Times: Royal Mail has appointed three investment banks - Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs - to advise it as preparations to privatise the world’s oldest postal service step up a gear.
  • Financial Times: The 20 most active stocks traded on Nasdaq OMX. are set to be listed on the Bolsa Electrónica de Chile (BEC) as the two bourses bed in a long-term alliance agreed more than a year ago.
  • The Guardian: HMRC has been asked to investigate alleged tax avoidance by Prince Charles's £700 million hereditary estate.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Best Buy has given its estranged founder Richard Schulze an extension to the end of February to submit his proposed bid to take the US electronics retailer private.
  • The Independent: Aquiline Capital Partners, a private-equity firm led by the son of former AIG boss Hank Greenberg, has snapped up Lloyd's of London insurer Equity Red Star for £87 million.
  • Financial Times: British Airways has struck a deal with Ryanair to purchase more than 85% of Aer Lingus’s slots at Heathrow airport.
  • Financial Times: Dutch telecommunications group KPN has paid €1.35 billion at a government spectrum auction to license 15 blocks of infrared bandwidth.
  • Daily Mail: Insurer Aviva is close to selling its US business at a huge loss, in a deal that could take place before Christmas.
  • Financial Times: Rangers International Football Club are to issue new shares at 70p each on to the Alternative Investment Market next week, raising £24.5 million after expenses.
  • Financial Times: Virgin Media will buy back at least £1.1 billion of shares by the end of 2014.
  • Financial Times: Insurance Australia Group is to end a troublesome six-year foray into the UK by disposing of its remaining businesses in the country, a deal that will result in it incurring a A$240 million loss.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Danone and DE Master Blenders - take an underperforming consumer goods company in Europe. Add some stake-building from a high-profile investor. Leave to mature.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Singapore bling - internationally mobile wealthy individuals – nearly a third of such jet-setters in Asia use Singapore as a base.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bausch & Lomb – Warburg bought the company (it makes contact lenses, surgical supplies, and pharmaceuticals) when it was reeling after a lens-solution recall.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Britain's economic fortunes are slowly starting to turn - another week in the trenches and more evidence that it's not all bad news out there for the economy.
  • The Independent (Comment): The financier and businessman Ed Truell worked out a few months ago that merging all the local-authority pensions schemes in this country would save up to £35 billion over five years through lower costs, greater efficiency and more productive investment.

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