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Saturday Papers: Chinese group set to buy House of Fraser

Saturday Papers: Chinese group set to buy House of Fraser

Top stories

  • Daily Mail: British High Street stalwart House of Fraser has been bought by a Chinese conglomerate in a deal that values the firm at more than £450 million; Nanjing-based Sanpower Group, headed by tycoon Yafei Yuan, has agreed to buy an 89% stake in the 165-year-old department store chain.
  • Financial Times: The Swiss cement maker, Holcim, and its French counterpart, Lafarge, are in talks about a merger to create a $40 billion group at the top of the global cement industry, as the corporate world’s animal spirits are showing signs of a strong revival.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Row over Government's infrastructure credentials as Eric Pickles squashes £230 million Norfolk project; waste-to-energy project in Kings Lynn on the brink of collapse as Government delays planning decision.
  • Financial Times: GlaxoSmithKline has fired some of its employees in China in the wake of “shameful” corruption allegations levelled against the company by Chinese authorities.
  • Daily Mail: Tesco boss Phil Clarke was under intense pressure last night after finance director Laurie McIlwee ended months of anticipation by resigning amid speculation the pair had fallen out.
  • Daily Express: EasyJet shares soared to a record high yesterday after the low-cost airline’s passenger figures climbed by 4.8% in March to 5.1 million; shares climbed 36p to 1827p on the news.
  • Financial Times: AJ Bell, the DIY investor platform and stockbroker, has been approached by prospective buyers since the Budget unveiled dramatic changes to pensions.
  • Daily Express: Royal Bank of Scotland Group yesterday appointed Ewen Stevenson, one of the brains behind its 2008 government bailout, as its finance director as it gears up for privatization; the lender poached Stevenson from Credit Suisse.
  • The Guardian: Lord Myners is facing calls to rethink his initial proposals to reform the Co-operative Group from members of the regional boards who will control more than 75% of the votes at the upcoming meeting to ratify the plans.
  • The Guardian: The US unemployment rate in March remained stubbornly elevated at 6.7% in March with 10.5 million people out of work; only around 192,000 Americans found new jobs in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The Independent: Large investment funds could be “too big” and pose a systemic risk to the global financial system, one of the Bank of England’s most senior financial regulators has warned.
  • Financial Times: S&P 500 slides despite solid jobs data; the bourse finished 1.3% lower, after rising to within a whisker of the 1,900 level in early trading.

Business and economics

  • Daily Mail: Shell ignored safety warnings by towing the Kulluk drilling rig through tempestuous Arctic waters in a bid to save itself a multi-million-pound tax bill, the US Coastguard has claimed.
  • The Independent: Property prices lifted by 8.7% annually in March as low interest rates and blossoming consumer confidence helped boost housing market demand further, Halifax has reported.
  • Financial Times: Sir Alex Ferguson has transferred from the English football Premier League to the American Ivy league with a job at Harvard Business School.
  • Financial Times: Russia’s second-biggest bank VTB Capital has cut its operations in London and New York.
  • Financial Times: Sir Frank Chapman, the former chief executive of BG Group, has emerged as one of the frontrunners to become the next chairman of Glencore Xstrata.
  • Daily Mail: Marks & Spencer’s long-suffering investors will be seeking glimmers of hope from its fourth-quarter trading update on Thursday; chief executive Marc Bolland is under pressure to show clothing and homeware sales are responding to a new management team and marketing push.
  • Financial Times: Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging service, has cut the amount it is looking to raise in its upcoming Nasdaq listing, amid slowing user growth and concerns about censorship of the platform.
  • Daily Mail: Yoga fitness brand Lululemon is planning to roll out stores across the UK in the next five years.
  • Financial Times: France’s market regulator has accused the UK arm of Elliott Management, the US activist hedge fund founded by billionaire Paul Singer, of insider trading and market manipulation in its handling of an investment in a French motorway operator in 2010.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Daily Mail (Small Cap Movers): Green Dragon Gas (up 9% yesterday at 600p) was one of the big movers almost doubling in value after it struck a landmark deal with a Chinese state oil firm CNOOC, which will see up to $350 million put into its gas projects in China; New Zealand focussed Kea Petroleum (down 0.8% yesterday at 3.15p) continued its month long rally, as it confirmed a farm-out deal had been agreed for its Puka oil field development.
  • Financial Times: Jon Moulton, the veteran turnround investor, has expressed interest in buying parts of UK Coal as two of the last three deep pits in the country face closure.
  • Daily Mail: Preparations are under way for a sell-off of Lloyds Banking Group shares to the public after the bailed-out bank set out plans to ask its current shareholders for permission to go ahead.
  • Financial Times: Banco Popular revealed on Friday that it is in talks to buy Citibank’s Spanish credit card and retail banking business.
  • Financial Times: Bouygues has made a last-ditch attempt to scupper Altice’s efforts to buy Vivendi’s French phone unit SFR, with the construction and telecoms conglomerate sweetening its own offer ahead of a crucial Vivendi board meeting on Friday.
  • The Independent: Formula E, a new electric racing series with motors made by the British engineering firm McLaren, is set to announce that investment funds have injected around £25 million into the business to get a 20% stake as it heads into its inaugural race in September.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Investing in China: with an upbeat mood, bargain-seeking is set to become fashionable.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US bank dividends: average payout ratio will be 24% of net profits this year.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Meda: investors in Swedish group and suitor Mylan liked idea of a deal.

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