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Saturday Papers: AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer’s sweetened bid

Saturday Papers: AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer’s sweetened bid

Top stories

  • The Daily Express: AstraZeneca could face a hostile takeover by Pfizer after rejecting the US giant’s sweetened £63 billion offer.
  • The Independent: Pfizer insider warns that takeover of AstraZeneca could be ‘devastating’.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Long-time AstraZeneca shareholder Neil Woodford supports bid rejection.
  • Financial Times: David Cameron on Friday effectively raised a green flag for Pfizer’s proposed purchase of AstraZeneca, in a sign to his critics that he has no intention of closing Britain’s doors to £63 billion of potential inward investment.
  • Financial Times (Lex): AstraZeneca / Pfizer: the US pharma company needs to make a serious bid for its UK target, or go away.
  • Financial Times: George Osborne’s flagship Help to Buy equity loan scheme is poised to generate £4.5 billion in profit for the government, making the Treasury one of the biggest beneficiaries of a housing boom that is drawing concern from policy makers.
  • Daily Mail: US unemployment fell to a five-and-a-half year low, as the world’s economic superpower created more jobs during April than for the past two years; non-farm payrolls increased by 288,000 last month, beating a forecast of 210,000.
  • The Daily Express: Royal Bank of Scotland said growing demand from small businesses and homeowners had helped profits double but warned it was still plagued by problems from its past; the bank said first-quarter pre-tax profits rose to £1.64 billion from £826 million, only the sixth time it has posted a quarterly profit since its 2008 bailout.
  • The Daily Telegraph: JP Morgan warns bond and equity trading revenues may fall 20%; revenue from bond trading has persistently declined over the past five years, raising concerns that the business has permanently shrunk.

Business and economics

  • Daily Express: Insurer Direct Line took a smaller-than-expected hit from the winter’s severe weather, with claims of £60 million rather than the forecast £70-£90 million.
  • Daily Mail: The boss of Royal Bank of Scotland has come under fire over plans to give hundreds of top staff a pay rise after the Chancellor blocked the bank’s attempts to dish out bonuses of twice salary.
  • Daily Mail: Soaring sales of Gemfields’ Faberge jewel brand helped dispel the gloom of disappointing precious stone production caused by heavy rain in Zambia.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s two largest road assistance specialists could change hands this year as the private equity owners of the AA and the Royal Automobile Club consider selling their stakes in the companies.
  • Daily Mail: Drinks can maker Rexam credited strong sales in South America for offsetting sluggish growth in western Europe.
  • The Guardian: Network Rail plans to rein in executive pay by slashing bonuses for directors, cutting the maximum award from 160% to 20% of annual salary.
  • Financial Times: Paul Parker, Barclays’ head of mergers and acquisitions, is expected to quit, which would take to four the number of high-level bankers it has lost in the week before it unveils a strategic revamp.
  • Daily Mail: Troubled Mothercare has turned the screw on suppliers by imposing a 2.5% extra charge on all invoices in a desperate attempt to bolster finances.
  • The Guardian: An American jury has ordered Samsung to pay $119.6 million to Apple for smartphone patent violations, far less than Apple had sought and marking a big loss for the iPhone-maker in the latest round of the two companies’ worldwide litigation.
  • Financial Times: Macquarie Group has reported a near-50 per cent jump in full-year net profits.
  • Daily Mail: Lend-to-save provider Zopa is offering investors a way to beat poor savings rates with two new best buy easy access offers - a 5.2% five year rate and 4% deal for up to three years - available for one month only.
  • The Guardian: Vince Cable bowed to political pressure on Friday to release details of the precise number of Royal Mail shares allocated to 16 priority investors in the flotation of the 500-year-old postal service.
  • Financial Times: Chevron, the US oil group, suffered a 27% drop in post-tax profits in the first quarter, hit by weaker oil prices and disruption to production caused by bad weather in Kazakhstan.
  • Financial Times: Mike Coupe, the incoming chief executive of J Sainsbury, is set to signal that his tenure will be marked by lower capital expenditure.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Daily Express: Rentokil is hoping to buy companies to beef up its business in key emerging and growth markets such as North America, Asia, UK, Germany, Latin America and the Middle East.
  • Financial Times: Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, has described shareholders of public companies as greedy and short-termist, in a forceful rejection of the idea of listing the Chinese telecoms equipment maker.
  • Financial Times: An Indian court has ordered the temporary halt of Sun Pharma’s $3.2 billion takeover of rival Ranbaxy.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Google buys UK start-up Rangespan; British company, founded by two former Amazon executives, uses data to help retailers decide which products to sell and when.
  • Daily Express: It is believed that the Carlyle Group has appointed investment bank Lazard to discuss a possible exit from the RAC, which it bought from insurance giant Aviva in 2011 for £1 billion.
  • Daily Express: Shares of InterContinental Hotels Group rose 166p to 2190p yesterday as it said it would return £445 million to shareholders following the US sale of hotels in San Francisco and New York.
  • The Guardian: A penthouse one of London's landmark property developments is set to become the capital's most valuable apartment after changing hands for a reported £140 million.
  • The Guardian: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is expanding its book empire with the £246 million acquisition of a Canadian-based romantic publisher Harlequin.
  • The Guardian: Investor hunger for shares in the owner of Patisserie Valerie means the cakes and coffee group could be worth £200 million when it lists on the stock exchange.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Pfizer's unethical approaches...Pharma giant's Government lobbying is totally unacceptable.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): The Co-op needs to bed in new board and cut ties to Labour.
  • The Guardian (Comment): European Union institutions no longer work. A radical financial and democratic settlement is needed.
  • The Guardian (Comment): AstraZeneca's rejection of the US firm's approaches underlines its desire to keep its ever-strengthening British identity intact.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Buffett: the renowned investor’s book value fetish is a curious way to measure shareholder returns and deserves scrutiny.

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