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Thursday Papers: Vince Cable orders review into sell-off of state assets

Thursday Papers: Vince Cable orders review into sell-off of state assets

Top stories

  • Daily Mail: Business Secretary VinceCable in line of fire over sell-offs as Government to investigate way it runs privatisations in wake of botched Royal Mail float.
  • Financial Times: The BBC has offered to let its commercial competitors bid for hundreds of millions of pounds in programming budgets in one of the most radical attempts to open up the licence-fee funded broadcaster for years.
  • Daily Mail: The UK economy is recovering at a ‘striking’ pace but there are ‘substantial risks’ to the outlook, according to the incoming deputy governor of the Bank of England.
  • The Guardian: The Federal Reserve is set to end its economic stimulus program in October, bringing to an end the controversial five-year-old scheme even as officials said there were signs that the US economy was still in trouble.
  • The Guardian: Lloyds Banking Group is to axe another 500 jobs under organisational changes in its finance and retail sections.
  • The Daily Telegraph: IBM to invest $3 billion in smaller silicon chips; US electronics giant IBM says it is "committed" to making smaller and more efficient chips.
  • Financial Times: BT will receive a multimillion pound windfall from British mobile operators that have been resisting paying extra for popular 0800 and 0845 calls.

Business and economics

  • Daily Express: Shares in car insurer Admiral slammed into reverse yesterday as it warned of falling profits due to downward pressure on UK motor cover premiums.
  • The Guardian: Britain's financial watchdog will investigate allegations that high frequency traders unfairly steal a march on rival investors as part of a broad "exploratory" review of competition in wholesale financial markets.
  • The Guardian: Tough talk from the Bank of England over the threat of a housing bubble and the tightening of lending rules helped dampen the buoyant housing market last month, according to estate agents.
  • Daily Mail: Burberry will be forced to defend its ‘over the top’ pay awards at its annual meeting tomorrow, in what is expected to be one of the biggest shareholder revolts of the year.
  • Daily Express: US drugs group AbbVie has suffered an embarrassing slip-up in its £30 billion pursuit of Shire after being forced to retract statements from its boss that shareholders of the FTSE-100 company supported its bid.
  • Daily Express: Fashion retailer Fat Face shrugged off disappointment over its abandoned stock market flotation as it hailed a record year for sales and profits.
  • Financial Times: América Móvil is seeking a single, deep-pocketed buyer for the approximately 15-17% of assets it is putting on the block to avoid harsh new Mexican competition regulations and says it hopes to wrap up the divestment quickly to focus on pay-TV.
  • Daily Express: Volkswagen-owned Bentley said UK first half deliveries of its ultra-luxury saloons, coupes and convertibles rose 2% to 713 against a year ago.
  • Daily Express: Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King was yesterday hailed for making the supermarket “great again” as he checked out after a decade in the job.
  • Daily Express: England’s early exit from the World Cup has hit sales at pub chain JD Wetherspoon.
  • Daily Mail: Blight from the Government’s controversial HS2 high speed line could knock up to 40% off the value of a family home, a Government commissioned report has revealed.
  • Financial Times: Djibouti has rescinded Dubai ports operator DP World’s concession at Africa’s largest container terminal and launched arbitration proceedings over alleged corruption.
  • Financial Times: HarperCollins has started selling books directly to readers in the latest move by publishers to regain ground in a market dominated by Amazon.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Qatar cuts holding in London Stock Exchange by a third; Gulf investor trims stake ahead of £1.6 billion rights issue to fund acquisition of Russell Investments.
  • The Guardian: Lufthansa may launch low-cost long-haul flights under a new brand as part of plans to attract more price conscious travellers and battle competition from Middle East carriers and low-cost airlines, its new chief executive has said.
  • Financial Times: Spire Healthcare would pay hundreds of staff and management a bumper £36 million in bonuses if it succeeds with its flotation, according to the private hospital group’s prospectus.
  • Financial Times: European regulators have fined Servier of France and several other drugmakers €428 million for blocking the introduction of cheaper generic competition to an expensive branded medicine.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Guardian: American Apparel has reached a preliminary deal with investment firm Standard General to receive a $25 million investment to bolster the clothing chain's finances, sources said.
  • The Guardian: Average wages in Britain have fallen further than official figures show after a huge shift into low-paid self-employment since the financial crash, according to a report by a leading thinktank.
  • The Guardian: Primark has bought a shopping centre in Birmingham, paving the way for a four-floor store that will almost match its largest outlet in Manchester.
  • Financial Times: Shareholders in Allergan are encouraging the Botox maker to do a large acquisition of its own as it tries to fend off a $53 billion hostile bid from rival drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
  • The Daily Telegraph: SSP expected to float with £1 billion market value; Shares in the Upper Crust owner are to be priced at 210p.
  • The Independent: The UK’s largest independent car parts supplier is close to a rescue deal as Euro Car Parts and Jon Moulton’s Better Capital circle Unipart Automotive.
  • Financial Times: Shares in 888 Holdings rose nearly 5% on Wednesday after the online gambling group said it was expecting a significant spike in its interim earnings.
  • Financial Times: Scentre Group, the new company spun off from Australian shopping centre operator Westfield, has raised more than A$3 billion ($2.8bn) from a European bond sale, the latest borrower to turn to the euro market for cheap financing.
  • Financial Times: Bharti Airtel, the Indian telecoms group, will sell its towers network in four countries in Africa to Helios Towers, the infrastructure company backed by funds of George Soros, Madeleine Albright and Jacob Rothschild.
  • Financial Times: Latin America’s largest bank merger in recent years, between Brazil’s Itaú-Unibanco and Chile’s CorpBanca, is in the balance after a key minority shareholder said it was seeking an independent evaluation of the transaction.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Takeover Panel right to rap AbbVie over Shire pursuit.
  • The Independent (Comment): Burberry is another successful retailer, even if the shares have moved off the express train and on to a branch line.
  • Financial Times (Lex): America Movil: The smartest thing would be for Carlos Slim to sell not what has the least value to him, but what has the most value to someone else.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Citigroup: Bank must focus on basics: speed up the closure of ‘bad bank’; erect a firewall to protect ‘good bank’ from downturns and bolster anti-fraud controls.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Aviva: The insurer is promising a big increase in cash flow, but not everyone is happy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Li & Fung: Back to basics for product sourcing company does not guarantee a return to growth.

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