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Saturday Papers: US politicians join Pfizer scrutiny

Saturday Papers: US politicians join Pfizer scrutiny

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Pfizer’s £63 billion takeover approach for AstraZeneca was facing mounting political scrutiny on two fronts on Friday as senior US politicians joined their UK counterparts in criticising the proposed deal.
  • The Guardian: Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg turned up the pressure on Pfizer on Friday over its £63 billion pursuit of Britain's AstraZeneca, urging it to make a binding commitment to UK jobs and research and warning it would be "pretty daft" to mount a takeover without government backing.
  • Daily Mail: US drugs giant Pfizer, that plans to take over AstraZeneca, builds up £43 billion in tax havens.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BSkyB reportedly preparing a €10 billion deal to buy Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland from 21st Century Fox.
  • Daily Express: Beleaguered Co-op Bank unveiled plans to raise £400 million from investors to restore it to health yesterday leaving the Co-op Group’s stake slashed by a third.
  • Daily Mail: WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell has pledged to continue with smaller bolt-on acquisitions in the wake of the collapse of the £20 billion merger between America’s Omnicom and France’s Publicis.
  • Daily Express: The Office for National Statistics said UK manufacturing output increased by 1.4% in the first three months of 2014, up from 0.6% in the previous quarter.
  • The Guardian: Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison's pay package has soared by 85% to almost £6.4 million after he was allowed to cash in £2.6 million of shares he was handed to replace those he gave up when he left easyJet to join the company.
  • Financial Times: ArcelorMittal reported a narrowing of losses on Friday as the world’s largest steelmaker by sales reiterated its confident outlook for an industry that has suffered deeply during the global economic downturn.

Business and economics

  • Daily Express: British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group has reduced operating losses at Iberia, cementing the turnaround of the Spanish flag carrier.
  • Daily Mail: US hedge funds are preparing to tighten their grip on the Co-op Bank after the troubled lender’s latest emergency fundraising; Silver Point, Perry Capital, York Capital Management - as well as UK fund manager Invesco Asset Management - are understood to have committed to boost their stake by becoming involved in the £400m rights issue.
  • The Guardian: Shoppers have been urged to boycott Amazon's British business after it paid just £4.2 million in tax last year, despite selling goods worth £4.3 billion - more than the UK sales of Argos, Dixons or the non-food arm of Marks & Spencer.
  • The Guardian: Drax, the operator of Britain's biggest power station, has become the second energy company in as many days to issue a profit warning on the back of falling wholesale prices.
  • Daily Mail: UK Gross domestic product increased by 1% between February and April, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  • The Daily Telegraph: SuperGroup hit by sales fall; sales of the company's Superdry brand dropped 1.3% during quarter four.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Petrofac tumbled more than 15% on Friday as the oil services company predicted a fall in current-year income and trimmed forecasts of future earnings contribution from a key profit centre.
  • Daily Mail: Amazon paid just £4.2 million in corporation tax last year despite record UK sales of £4.3 billion - meaning it paid a nominal rate of just 0.1%.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in power plant giant Drax tumbled after a triple whammy including a stinging profits warning; the company also confirmed it had embarked on a legal battle with the Government over a change in its subsidies, and said it was raising £100 million in a share placing.
  • Financial Times: Telefónica revealed a 23% drop in earnings for the first quarter, hit by currency weakness in Latin America, the sale of the group’s Czech business and signs of continuing weakness in the Spanish home market.
  • Financial Times: Malaysia’s Genting Group, one of Asia’s biggest casino operators, is poised to challenge US dominance of the Las Vegas Strip with a $4 billion plan to build a casino and resort in the same location.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph: Justin King sells £1 million of Sainsbury's shares; chief executive of supermarket retailer sells shares ahead of departure in July.
  • Financial Times: Allergan, the maker of Botox, is preparing to reject the $46 billion offer by rival Valeant Pharmaceuticals, setting up the prospect of a hostile takeover battle at the top of the US drugmaking industry.
  • The Guardian: A deal worth nearly £120 million to create Britain's biggest shale gas explorer was outlined on Friday with the acquisition of Dart Energy by rival IGas Energy, combining a portfolio covering one million acres of potential fracking land.
  • The Guardian: The Scotch whisky distiller Whyte & Mackay has been sold to the Philippines-based maker of Emperador brandy for £430 million.
  • Financial Times: Zalando, the online retailer, has lined up three banks in preparation for an initial public offering in Frankfurt later this year in what could be Europe’s biggest technology listing since the turn of the century.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): There is a mistaken view that transatlantic mergers make a great deal of sense because of a common belief in free markets. But doing deals with Americans can go horribly wrong.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Politicians who advocate throwing the doors wide open to Pfizer’s bid for AstraZeneca are lagging public opinion.
  • The Independent (Comment): The political turmoil around Pfizer's £63 billion bid for AstraZeneca saw Ed Miliband apparently flip-flopping yesterday after he was criticised for telling the US company's boss that he was too busy to meet him.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Holcim / Lafarge: the proposed merger of the two cement companies to create a ‘European champion’, in addition to regulatory hurdles, contains worrisome contradictions.
  • Financial Times (Lex):: Apple / Beats: should the tech giant buy Beats for $3.2 billion or build its own brand? Trick question: neither is worth it here.

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