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Saturday Papers: UK loses triple A credit rating

Saturday Papers: UK loses triple A credit rating

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Moody’s Investors’ Service stripped the UK of its triple A credit rating, saying sluggish economic growth and austerity will continue to affect the government’s finances into the second half of the decade.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Downgrade: rating agencies are still trying to regain legitimacy after mis-rating hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage bonds in run-up to financial crisis.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The pound is likely to come under increased pressure after Britain lost its prized "triple A" credit rating for the first time since 1978.
  • Financial Times: Google is in talks with big music labels to launch a streaming service to compete with companies such as Spotify and Deezer.
  • Financial Times: US stocks recorded their first losing week of the new year after the Federal Reserve revealed divided views on quantitative easing; for the week, the Dow Jones gained 0.1% to 14,001; the Nasdaq fell 1% to 3,162.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Royal Bank of Scotland will next week reveal plans to float US retail bank Citizens in deal expected to raise more than £8 billion.
  • Financial Times: The European Central Bank said banks would next week pay back just €61.1 billion of the cheap, three-year money pumped into the eurozone financial system a year ago.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Elan, the Irish-based drug company, has pledged to buy back $1 billion of its own shares, refinance debt and seek fresh acquisitions after receiving $3.25 billion from a restructuring of its partnership with Biogen Idec over a multiple sclerosis drug.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Bumi's chief executive has claimed he harbours "no animosity" towards Nat Rothschild in the wake of the financier's failed power struggle over the company.
  • Financial Times: Surgical Innovations’ share price tumbled 8.6% on Tuesday, to 6.75p, after the maker of “minimally invasive” medical instruments reported that revenues in 2012 would be flat compared with the year before, at £7.6 million – in spite of an 85% increase in the second half.
  • The Independent: The European Union is hoping to wrap up its investigation into the Libor-fixing scandal by offering banks the chance to settle with reduced fines, it emerged yesterday.
  • Financial Times: A manufacturer that produces Apple iPad casings faces sanctions from the Shanghai government after discharging waste that turned a local river milky white, killing fish and leaving water unfit for crop cultivation.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BlackBerry may only have sold about 300,000 of its new Z10 smartphone with its make-or-break BB10 software by the end of its fiscal year on 2 March, analysts say – a far cry from earlier estimates of up to 1.75 million.
  • Financial Times: A federal judge blocked Apple from holding a shareholder vote on corporate governance changes at its annual meeting next week, granting an injunction on Friday to Greenlight Capital, David Einhorn’s activist hedge fund.
  • Financial Times: Volkswagen sought to head off a debate about boardroom pay by limiting bonuses for its top executives – even as its full-year net profit soared to €22 billion following its takeover of Porsche.
  • Financial Times: Daniel Vasella, the chairman of Novartis, conceded that he had erred in agreeing to the $78 million farewell payout that has upset the company’s shareholders and whipped up a storm of political criticism in Switzerland.
  • Financial Times: RSA, the FTSE 100 insurer, is facing the threat of a revolt over executive pay, after stoking investor anger with plans to cut its dividend by a third.
  • The Independent: Simon Bragg has returned as chief executive of the City stockbroker Oriel Securities.
  • Financial Times: Boeing has proposed permanent fixes to the lithium-ion batteries of its grounded flagship Dreamliner, as it struggles to get the passenger jet back in the air following a global grounding of the fleet last month.
  • Financial Times: HTC failed to secure the software on millions of its smartphones, leaving consumers’ devices vulnerable to hijacking, US Federal Trade Commission said in a legal settlement with the Taiwanese company.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group is set to defer its chief executive’s bonus until 2018 and he will only receive it if shares in the bank pass the price the UK government paid to bail it out during the financial crisis.
  • Financial Times: Drug developer Phytopharm was the week’s biggest small-cap faller after tests of its flagship drug for treating Parkinson’s disease showed it was no better than a placebo.
  • The Independent: The international hotel group Millennium & Copthorne yesterday said it had got off to a slow start this year with revenues per room down in all three main cities – Singapore down 10.2%, London down 9.6% and New York down 1.6%.
  • Financial Times: Alcatel-Lucent has hired Michel Combes, former head of Vodafone’s European business, as its new chief executive.
  • Financial Times: Darty has bowed to demands from activist investor Knight Vinke for a seat on its board, appointing its chief executive Eric Knight as a non-executive director.
  • Financial Times: City Index is to sell its US retail foreign exchange trading business for a “a small fee”, to free up money for acquisitions and investments in faster growing markets for financial spread betting.
  • Financial Times: John Lewis customers will soon be able to pick up the products they order online at local cornershops, under a deal struck by the department store chain.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph: Coca-Cola is taking full control of Innocent smoothies in a deal that will make millions of pounds for the company's founders.
  • Financial Times: Mikhail Prokhorov has sold his 38% stake in London-listed Polyus Gold to two Russian investors for $3.6 billion, a milestone for the Russian billionaire who has lately shown more interest in politics and less in his business empire.
  • The Independent: The private-equity bidders eyeing jeweller-to-the-stars Theo Fennell have been given a fourth extension to the put up-or-shut up deadline.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Auditors: Competition Commission’s proposed shake-up of sector contains some good ideas but pressure to improve quality of service must come from shareholders.
  • Financial Times (Lex): VeriFone: payments systems company appears well-positioned as consumers turn away from cash but falling revenue growth signals poor execution or deeper problem.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bank loan ETFs: leveraged loans are growing in popularity despite fears they encourage short-term trading and volatility, potentially leading to price swings.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Bumi saga has a way to run: although the battle at the Honourable Artillery Company only just over, the big guns are already back in action.
  • The Independent: What was Sony thinking? The Japanese firm clearly studied Apple's marketing playbook when it put together the New York Playstation event this week. But it's just as clear that it failed to read all the way to the end.

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