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Thursday Papers: Carl Icahn presses eBay to spin off PayPal

Thursday Papers: Carl Icahn presses eBay to spin off PayPal

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Activist investor Carl Icahn has revealed a stake in eBay as he called for the online marketplace to spin off its payments business, PayPal.
  • Financial Times: Markets are braced for a pre-election rise in UK interest rates after an unexpectedly sharp drop in unemployment, with the number of jobless falling by its fastest quarterly rate in 16 years; unemployment fell from 7.4% to 7.1% of the workforce.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Sir James Dyson plans to invest £250 million in the expansion of his company headquarters in Wiltshire, creating jobs for 3,000 engineers.
  • The Guardian: A politically toxic battle over the £1.5 million pay of Royal Mail boss Moya Greene looks likely to intensify as the government suggested it might block any large increases in executive remuneration.
  • Financial Times: Microsoft will allow foreign customers to have their personal data stored on servers outside the US, breaking ranks with other big technology groups that until now have shown a united front in response to the American surveillance scandal.
  • The Guardian: Corporate raider Carl Icahn said on Wednesday that he had upped his stake in Apple by $500 million as he steps up pressure on the technology company to hand some of its giant cash hoard over to shareholders.
  • The Guardian: Facebook has spread like an infectious disease but we are slowly becoming immune to its attractions, and the platform will be largely abandoned by 2017, say researchers at Princeton University.
  • Daily Mail: Waitrose will on Thursday announce it is hiring 2,000 more staff as the unemployment rate dropped to 7.1% in the three months to November.
  • The Independent: The ranks of the world’s most exclusive club were swollen by one new member yesterday as Facebook’s second in command Sheryl Sandberg was hailed as a paper billionaire.
  • Financial Times: Long hours and a frequently fractious relationship with Pimco’s founder Bill Gross prompted Mohamed El-Erian’s resignation as chief executive of the world’s largest bond house, sources said.

Business and economics

  • The Independent: Relatives of top Chinese officials including President Xi Jinping and former premier Wen Jiabao are allegedly using offshore tax havens to hide their wealth, leaked financial documents show.
  • Financial Times: Spain took advantage of a powerful new year rally in eurozone “periphery” debt markets to issue a blockbuster €10 billion 10-year bond on Wednesday, after receiving orders worth almost four times as much.
  • The Guardian: UK car manufacturing hit a six-year high in 2013, driven by sharp increases in production at Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota; car production rose 3.1% last year to 1.51 million vehicles - the highest level since 2007.
  • Financial Times: Investors are rewarding acquisitive companies with higher share prices in a striking reversal of long-term trends; last year, share prices of US companies announcing acquisitions with a value of $1 billion or more rose, on average, more than 4% within a day.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Sir Andrew Large, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England, said the way Royal Bank of Scotland runs its controversial global restructuring group is "flawed".
  • Financial Times: Urenco, the uranium enrichment company being privatised by its government and utility owners, expects revenues for the past 12 months to be down “around 5%” on record levels of €1.6 billion in 2012.
  • Financial Times: Raiffeisen Bank International became the latest European lender to bolster its balance sheet with a plan to raise as much as €2.9 billion in fresh equity.
  • The Independent: Vodafone has kicked off one of the biggest advertising pitches of the year after the mobile giant announced it is putting its global ad-buying and planning account up for tender; the FTSE 100 giant is thought to spend upwards of £600 million a year on advertising.
  • Financial Times: Christie’s announced on Wednesday morning that total sales rose 16% last year to reach £4.5 billion in the 12 months ended 31 December, up from £3.92 billion in 2012.
  • Financial Times: Quercus, publisher of the Stieg Larsson crime trilogy which made £5.9 million in pre-tax profits in 2011 when the Millennium trilogy topped the best-seller list, has put itself up for sale after worse than expected Christmas trading forced it into discussions with its banks.
  • Financial Times: Netflix shares spiked more than 17% in after-market trading when the film and television streaming service reported increased US subscriber numbers at the high end of expectations.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Coach fell almost 7% on Wednesday as the New York-based company said overall sales slipped 6% to $1.42 billion in the three months ended 28 December, down from $1.5 billion in 2012.
  • The Independent: Mining giant BHP Billiton has posted a record production of iron ore, copper and coal in the second half.
  • Financial Times: Top executives of Sports Direct and Debenhams are set to meet on Thursday following the Mike Ashley-controlled sports goods retailer’s swoop on Debenhams’ shares 10 days ago.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: London’s start-up cluster is gearing up for its biggest initial public offering, with the online delivery service Just Eat readying for a London listing in April or May at a valuation in the range of £700 million to £900 million, the Financial Times has learnt.
  • Financial Times: Santander Consumer USA, a provider of auto loans to subprime buyers, has raised $1.8 billion from an initial public offering amid a recovery in US car sales and strong investor interest in high-yielding loans sold by consumer finance companies.
  • Financial Times: The revival of animal spirits in dealmaking reached the Nordic region on Wednesday as Sweden’s SSAB offered $1.5 billion for Finnish steelmaker Rautaruukki.
  • Financial Times: North Sea oil explorer Hurricane Energy will float on Aim next month after raising further funds for test drilling in waters to the west of the Shetland Islands.
  • Financial Times: SSP, the airport food and beverage company headed by former WH Smith chief executive Kate Swann, has joined the growing ranks of European companies considering a market listing.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): As Mark Carney now knows, employment statistics on their own can no longer be taken as a sufficient indicator of a return to prosperity.
  • The Guardian (Comment): To a greater extent than ever before, the richer and poorer of Britain do not live, work – or shop – in the same places
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Since Chinese credit now matches the entire US and Japanese banking systems combined in dollar worth, this is no longer a local Chinese story. It is part of our lives too now.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Davos: despite the optimism, there are serious questions about where the recovery is leading.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Netflix: Future of movie site could look a lot like Pandora’s present
  • Financial Times (Lex): ASML: Semiconductor equipment maker in enviable spot competitively
  • Financial Times (Lex): Pimco/Allianz: Allianz shares indicate investors are not too worried
  • Financial Times (Lex): Anglo American: Miner’s South Africa woes pose difficult question for executives

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