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Tuesday Papers: Pfizer ignites pharma takeover battle

Tuesday Papers: Pfizer ignites pharma takeover battle

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Pfizer has ignited a takeover battle for one of the biggest prizes in the global pharmaceuticals sector with its £60 billion approach for arch rival AstraZeneca in a move that has raised political concerns on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • The Guardian: The Bank of England is preparing to order eight of the UK's biggest banks and building societies to ensure they are strong enough to withstand sharp drops in house prices and sudden rises in interest rates.
  • Financial Times: General Electric of the US and Siemens of Germany on Monday launched a charm offensive to win France’s socialist government over to their competing bids for engineering group and “industrial jewel” Alstom, each arguing that its offer best served the national interest.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The US Treasury has blacklisted Igor Sechin, the mastermind of the Kremlin's energy strategy and Russia's second most powerful man, in the first energy sanctions.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The US energy sanctions on Russia could prevent BP chief Bob Dudley from dealing with the president of Rosneft, in which BP has a 20% stake.
  • Financial Times: Chris Finlayson’s abrupt departure as chief executive of BG Group has increased the chances that the FTSE 100 oil and gas producer could be taken over by a larger rival such as ExxonMobil, say some shareholders.
  • Financial Times: Serco, the scandal-hit outsourcing company, has issued a profit warning and signalled that it might have to raise capital through a share placing - just days before its new chief executive takes up his role.
  • The Guardian: Britain filed its first criminal charges against US-based Libor traders yesterday, as the UK arm of a complex global investigation into alleged benchmark interest-rate rigging stretches across the Atlantic.
  • Daily Mail: The Financial Conduct Authority came under fire yesterday from MPs who questioned why it has not launched an investigation into the privatisation of Royal Mail.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Energy Solutions, who lost out on a £7 billion deal to decommission Britain’s oldest nuclear power plants have mounted a legal challenge, raising further questions over the way the government awards large and sensitive public-sector contracts.
  • Financial Times: Britain’s basic commercial regime would be cast into “uncertainty and doubt” by years or decades of diplomatic wrangling if it opts to leave the EU, according to an analysis of exit options for lobby group TheCityUK.
  • Financial Times: George Osborne ratcheted up the pressure on offshore tax evaders as he promised “tough action domestically” and a pioneering global agreement on transparency.
  • Financial Times: G4S, the company at the centre of the electronic tagging fiasco, has won a key role implementing the government’s contentious and complex new programme for the long-term unemployed.
  • Financial Times: German low-cost airline Air Berlin is calling on investors to raise €450 million to finance a “comprehensive restructuring” of the business without changing its ownership structure.
  • Financial Times: The High Court is to determine key legal issues this week ahead of a court case to be heard next year brought by 15,000 claimants from the Bodo community in Nigeria against Royal Dutch Shell.
  • Financial Times: Microsoft is developing a brand for forthcoming smartphone products following the acquisition of Nokia, says the former chief executive of the Finnish group, who is moving to the US with the handset businesses.
  • Financial Times: Saga is facing the threat of a row with prospective investors in London’s latest listing as it tries to argue against being deemed an insurer even though the group makes most of its profits from the industry.
  • Financial Times: The US department of homeland security has warned people and companies to avoid using Internet Explorer, after a flaw was found in the popular web browser that has allowed cyber criminals to impersonate known websites to steal user data.
  • Financial Times: The intense lobbying by opponents of a bill to wind down US mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac appears to be gaining traction ahead of a Senate committee meeting on the proposal on Tuesday.
  • Financial Times: Chinese ecommerce group Alibaba and mobile browser company UCWeb will launch a mobile search engine; the move is aimed at challenging rivals Baidu and Tencent and buttressing Alibaba’s presence on the mobile internet ahead of its US IPO later this year.
  • Financial Times: A rebound in German conglomerate Bayer’s plastics business has fuelled speculation that the division could be sold as part of a strategy to focus on life sciences.
  • Financial Times: Heathrow raised the prospect yesterday of falling behind airport hubs in the Middle East and Asia as well as European airports such as Frankfurt and Paris if it does not get a third runway.
  • Financial Times: Fitness First, the UK-based chain of gym clubs, plans to pump £64 million into an ambitious expansion in Asia, where increasing urbanisation and concern among some governments over rising obesity rates are encouraging more people to take up exercise.
  • Financial Times: Invesco Perpetual has been fined £18.6 million by the Financial Conduct Authority for breaching investment limits and introducing leverage into funds - including those run by Neil Woodford - without proper disclosure.
  • Financial Times: The London-based founders of a system for mobile payments,Yoyo, has been working with 32 bars and cafés on the Imperial College campus since last November applying Facebook’s strategy on how to build critical mass for an enterprise.
  • Financial Times: A commissioner with the Securities and Exchange Commission accused the agency of having “strayed from its mission” by granting waivers allowing two banks that pleaded guilty to interest-rate rigging to access capital markets without regulatory scrutiny.
  • Financial Times: Comcast’s $20 billion deal with Charter Communications to divest 3.9 million subscribers is not likely to change the odds that regulators clear its $41 billion deal for Time Warner Cable but it puts Comcast in a better light for showing a willingness to compromise, say people familiar with the matter.
  • Financial Times: Alec Gores, the Los Angeles self-made billionaire who has taken control of Hovis, Britain’s century-old brown loaf, expects a “significant” improvement in sales and profits within six to 12 months on the back of investment to boost efficiency.
  • Financial Times: Rovio Entertainment, maker of Angry Birds said revenue growth ground to a halt last year while profits halved as the Finnish mobile games developer struggled to adapt to the fast-moving industry.
  • The Guardian: One of the City's biggest fund managers has warned that the government's decision to block Royal Bank of Scotland's bonus plans would put the bank at a competitive disadvantage.
  • The Guardian: Tesco boss Philip Clarke faced fresh pressure yesterday after another rating agency warned of a potential cut to its credit rating; Standard & Poor's (S&P) changed its outlook on Tesco's debt from stable to negative, a move that flags the supermarket is more likely to have its rating cut than raised.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Gross domestic product figures set to show Britain notched up its fastest economic growth in nearly four years.
  • The Daily Telegraph: An independent Scotland would lose free university education, medical prescriptions, the triple lock on pensions and high levels of social care for the elderly.
  • The Independent: A boom in smartphone and mobile advertising has spurred growth in the UK advertising market as industry forecasters reckon ad revenues should soar 5.5% this year and 6.5% next year to reach a record £20 billion.
  • Daily Mail: BAE Systems has won a five-year contract with the US Navy to repair, maintain and modernise nine destroyers and cruisers in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
  • Daily Mail: Britain's biggest mobile operator EE has marked its best quarterly take up of 4G customers with nearly 900,000 signing up to the superfast network in the first three months of the year.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Merger talks between Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining have collapsed amid sharp criticism from each of the other’s attitude to attempts to combine the world’s two largest gold producers by output.
  • Financial Times: Arle Capital, the buyout group spun out of Candover Investments in 2010, has stepped in to reinvest in Innovia, after the sale of plastic banknote film supplier nearly collapsed.
  • Financial Times: Bank of America has suspended its $4 billion share buyback programme and its first dividend increase since 2007 after discovering an accounting error that will force it to redo its stress tests with the Federal Reserve.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Meda fell sharply after the Swedish pharmaceutical company rejected a bid of more than $9 billion from US drugmaker Mylan.
  • Financial Times: Merck of the US is in the final stages of selling its consumer healthcare unit for close to $14 billion, with Reckitt Benckiser and Germany’s Bayer among final contenders to clinch a deal as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter said.
  • Financial Times: Veteran property duo Nigel Hugill and Robin Butler have reversed their residential development vehicle Urban & Civic into listed commercial property developer Terrace Hill, creating a regeneration-focused property company.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Discount shoe chain, Shoe Zone, is planning to join £100 million IPO.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Pfizer / AstraZeneca: a pill wind blows?
  • Financial Times (Lex): GE / Alstom: commanding heights.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bank of America: more red faces.
  • Financial Times (Lex): BG Group: out of gas?
  • Financial Times (Lex): US cable: strange bedfellows.
  • Financial Times (Comments): Tilt at AstraZeneca has something to offend everyone.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Rising pound has not caused serious damage … yet.

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