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Thursday Papers: Osborne to hand Carney more powers

Thursday Papers: Osborne to hand Carney more powers

Top stories

  • Financial Times: George Osborne’s Budget will pave the way for Mark Carney, incoming Bank of England governor, to come to the rescue of the economy as the chancellor sets the scene for a new era of looser monetary policy.
  • Financial Times: Mervyn King, the outgoing governor of the Bank of England, has urged the government to break up the Royal Bank of Scotland as the best way to recover the bulk of the £45 billion used to bail out the state-controlled bank.
  • Financial Times: Google has struck a €561 million blow to Microsoft after the EU’s competition authority heavily fined the maker of Windows for settlement breaches secretly flagged up by the US internet group.
  • The Guardian: Thomas Cook, the world's oldest travel firm, is cutting 2,500 British jobs and closing 195 of its high street travel agencies.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain's hopes of a new generation of nuclear power plants face fresh doubts after Hitachi suggested its £20 billion reactor investment plans could be affected if knife-edge negotiations over a rival project collapse.
  • Financial Times: Bob Dudley, BP’s chief executive, saw his pay fall 21.5% last year to $2.67 million, reflecting the continuing impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the company’s performance.
  • Daily Mail: Willie Walsh’s bonus has been wrestled from him by his board after the British Airways boss refused to surrender the payment of his own accord; but the airline supreme still stands to receive £1.65 million in shares over the next three years if he hit targets.
  • Financial Times: Time Warner has ended talks about merging its magazines with those of Meredith, the Iowa-based publisher of Better Homes and Gardens, and will instead spin off its Time Inc and IPC magazine units as a new public company by the end of 2013.
  • Financial Times: More than 1,000 engineering jobs will be created by BT, the telecoms group, to help roll out fibre around the UK and install broadband in homes as part of its £2.5 billion network investment.
  • The Independent: The controversial European Union cap for bankers' bonuses is an unhelpful "distraction", according Sir Mervyn King.
  • Daily Mail: Vodafone shares received a £5.6 billion boost on Wednesday as speculation mounted that it could join forces with US giant Verizon Wireless, in which it holds a 45% stake.
  • Financial Times: Carl Icahn, the billionaire activist investor, has raised the temperature in the battle over Dell’s future by building up a roughly 6% stake, according to reports.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The board of troubled PC maker Dell is "actively soliciting" rival bids for the company, as shareholder anger grows over founder Michael Dell's $24 billion offer.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: House prices continued their slow ascent in February, showing a modest monthly increase of 0.5%, according to the Halifax.
  • Financial Times: Investors are selling gold exchange-traded funds at a record pace as the sharp rally in equities dampens appeal for the precious metal.
  • Financial Times: KPMG could lose the biggest audit contract in corporate Britain after HSBC decided to consider bringing in a fresh pair of eyes to vet its accounts.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Investors were overcharged millions of dollars in British taxes by Deutsche Bank, according to an alleged whistleblower, who claims he was fired after alerting his bosses to a series of bad practices.
  • The Independent: Legal & General reported a 9% rise in pre-tax profits to £1 billion, helped by strong sales of its annuity and investment products.
  • Financial Times: First Quantum Minerals booked £1.2 billion from a settlement with ENRC over its mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which boosted pre-tax profits from $1.11 billion to $2.19 billion during 2012.
  • Financial Times: Lady Gaga’s production company and promoter are suing three Lloyd’s of London insurance syndicates for not paying out on terrorism policies, after threats from Islamic extremists prompted them to cancel her concert in Jakarta.
  • Financial Times: DZ Bank, Germany’s largest co-operative bank, has hit out at key parts of the Berlin government’s proposed financial sector reforms, saying they will hit savers and could damage the country’s financial stability.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Up to 17.5 million RBS banking group customers were left without their money last night as the bank's systems crashed.
  • Financial Times: Facebook has appointed its second female director, cancer researcher Susan Desmond-Hellmann, in its latest attempt to diversify its board.
  • Financial Times: Nasdaq OMX is joining the race to attract share trading in budding, fast-growing technology companies by forging a joint venture with SharesPost, one of the pioneers of the private secondary markets in the US.
  • The Independent: Confused.com, the price comparison site, has delivered a pre-tax profit of £344.6 million in 2012, up 2% year-on-year, its first rise in profits for four years.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph: Elliott Advisors, the activist American hedge fund that had a strategic bust-up with National Express in 2011, has sold half its near-20% stake in the transport group for around £110 million.
  • Financial Times: Sharp announced on Wednesday that it would seek a $107 million capital injection from Samsung, in exchange for a 3% stake, in the first ever capital tie-up between two major electronics companies from Japan and South Korea.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Countrywide, Britain's largest estate agent, has met with a series of fund managers ahead of an IPO expected to be valued at between £600 million and £750 million.
  • The Independent: Businesses across Europe will take advantage of buoyant market conditions and list their shares over the next few months, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accountants, said.
  • The Guardian (Comment): An all-share merger, however incredible it seems, would do the trick if Vodafone's share of the combined pie was inflated beyond current values.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Mervyn King is right when he says current policy is 'a nonsense'. The Bank of Scotland’s losses should be written off so that it can be sold off.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Mervyn King's RBS break-up would have been brilliant four years ago, not now.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): It maybe that the US government and BP reach a settlement in coming weeks. But while the trial goes on, we should learn what we can about an industry that navigates a tightrope between risk, the world's appetite for crude and the need to make a profit.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): As the exit beckons for Sir Mervyn King, he becomes increasingly irascible.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Dow Jones: if you feel the economy has been treading water, the Dow agrees but there’s good news for investors who are preparing to jump on the stock bandwagon.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Toyota: the Japanese carmaker has reorganised its management team and simplified its business structure, but moves are a sideshow.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Vodafone: various M&A rumours have been swirling about the UK telecoms company, but investors need to be discerning.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Legal & General: shares in UK life assurer Legal & General have had a great run, but is there anything in the company’s numbers to suggest they have further to go?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Samsung: what is $110 million between friends? It is not much to Samsung and not enough to save Sharp. It might be enough to give Samsung bargaining power.

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