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Saturday Papers: Persimmon chairman quits in bonus row

Saturday Papers: Persimmon chairman quits in bonus row

Top stories

  • The Guardian: The chair of housebuilding firm Persimmon, Nicholas Wrigley, has resigned over his role in orchestrating a £100 million-plus bonus for the company’s chief executive, as critics accused the firm of benefiting from the taxpayer-backed help-to-buy scheme.
  • The Times: Unilever has received a binding offer from the American private equity firm KKR to buy brands such as Flora and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter for €6.8 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ryanair has sought to quell strike action threatened by pilots in several countries by pledging to recognise unions for the first time.
  • Financial Times: EU leaders have confirmed that “sufficient progress” has been made in the first phase of Britain’s Brexit talks, giving a boost to Theresa May and paving the way for crucial discussions next year on trade.
  • Financial Times: Wall Street banks including Bank of America and Citigroup are facing potential losses of more than €1 billion on loans made to the billionaire backer of Steinhoff International, the South Africa-based home retailer whose shares collapsed last week after disclosing accounting irregularities.

Business and economics

  • Daily Express: President Emmanuel Macron’s government will next month unveil a package which it hopes will put France on an even footing with Germany, to persuade banking and finance workers to swap London for Paris.
  • The Independent: The British public has become more pessimistic about the economic impact of Brexit, a major new survey for the Bank of England has found.
  • The Guardian: Poundland faces potential difficulties with suppliers after an insurance company reduced its cover on credit for those selling goods to the cut price chain.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Procter & Gamble has added an activist investor to its board, conceding defeat after a battle which has dragged on for almost a year; Nelson Peltz will be joining P&G's board effective from 1 March.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Investors can earn enormous extra returns if they focus their funds on socially responsible businesses, and those with more women in senior jobs in particular, according to the chief investment officer of UBS's wealth management arm.
  • Financial Times: Citic Bank has expressed concerns over HNA Group’s current ability to repay debts even as the Chinese airlines-to-finance conglomerate announced a bond buyback to reassure markets.
  • Daily Express: According to a report by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), UK biotech companies closed 68% of European financing rounds involving corporate venture capital in 2016, up from just a fifth a decade ago.
  • Financial Times: Airbus has begun a shake-up of senior management, with Fabrice Brégier, the French chief operating officer and long-time contender for the top job, set to leave the company in February next year after the board refused to support his bid to become chief executive.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain’s steel industry could boost its revenues by £3.8 billion a year by 2030 according to a Government report setting out opportunities to bolster the sector and increase domestic demand for steel.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Newly-merged fund giant Standard Life Aberdeen has failed to plug net outflows after its first set of financial results showed that more than £23 billion had been pulled from its accounts.
  • The Guardian: The City regulator is intensifying its scrutiny of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to establish if new rules are needed for the fast-growing market.
  • The Times: Hennes & Mauritz said that its sale had fallen by 4% to SwKr 50.4 billion (£4.45 billion) in the three months to November, compared with the same time last year.
  • The Guardian: Ryanair is to recognise pilot unions for the first time in its 32-year history in an attempt to prevent strikes in the run-up to Christmas.
  • The Guardian: Britvic’s factory site in Norwich is to close, affecting hundreds of jobs.
  • The Guardian: Local buses could be replaced by “Uber-style” rides, the transport secretary has said, sparking a backlash from Labour, trade unions and campaigners.
  • The Daily Telegraph: More than 1,300 jobs have been saved at a subsidiary of Palmer & Harvey after alcohol distributor Conviviality agreed to buy 109 convenience stores out of administration.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Amazon has agreed to pay €100 million (£88.3m) to settle a tax dispute with Italy and end a criminal investigation into whether it evaded tax in the country for four years.
  • The Daily Telegraph: South African retail magnate Christo Wiese has resigned as chairman of Steinhoff's supervisory board in the wake of an accounting scandal which has left the company in an urgent scramble for cash.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD TalkTalk.
  • The Times: The fierce rivalry within the pay television market appeared to relax yesterday when BT and Sky said that they would sell each other’s channels; Under the agreement, Sky will offer BT Sport to subscribers and BT will provide Sky’s sport, film and entertainment channels through Now TV.
  • Daily Mail: Thames Water has issued a £145 million bond through the Cayman Islands – weeks after pledging it would stop using the tax haven.
  • Financial Times: Fund manager Richard Buxton and private equity group TA Associates are close to agreeing a deal to buy a large part of Old Mutual Global Investors for about £600 million, sources said.
  • Daily Mail: Pizza chain Franco Manca's sales boost fails to satisfy investors as owner's shares fall 5.3%.
  • Daily Mail: Oil major BP is snapping up a 43% stake in Europe’s largest solar power firm, Lightsource, for £150 million, marking its return to the solar sector.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Rivals reach for the Sky - but what has Disney in mind for Murdoch's most precious asset?
  • The Guardian (Comment): Persimmon bosses must decide how greedy they want to be.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The high street is not dead, it just needs to be reimagined.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Business is key to the success of Brexit talks.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Persimmon: what chance an incentive scheme that ties rewards to building homes?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Airbus: a small number of pivotal decisions will define the next chief executive’s tenure.
  • Financial Times (Lex): BT Group: change a few assumptions and the telco company’s shares look too cheap.
  • Financial Times (Lex): H&M: the fashion group urgently needs to rethink its physical store footprint.

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