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Wednesday Papers: Alibaba makes its case for bumper US IPO

Wednesday Papers: Alibaba makes its case for bumper US IPO

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Alibaba is pitching itself as a way to invest in the rapid growth of ecommerce in China and beyond, as the Chinese internet giant filed documents for what could be one of the largest US initial public offerings on record; according to the filing, Alibaba’s own estimate of its valuation was between $96.9 billion and $121 billion as recently as last month, double what it believed it was worth at the start of the year.
  • Financial Times: Germany’s Bayer has agreed to buy Merck’s consumer healthcare business for $14.2 billion, acquiring brands including Coppertone sunscreen lotion and Claritin anti-allergy pills in the latest deal to reshape the global pharmaceuticals industry.
  • Financial Times: A near-halving of profits at Barclays’ investment banking unit has increased pressure on the UK lender to come up with a credible turnround strategy.
  • The Independent: AstraZeneca's chief executive has launched a staunch attack on Pfizer’s £63 billion takeover plan, saying it would jeopardise its “fragile” but ambitious drug discovery programme.
  • The Guardian: Britain's services sector enjoyed a rise in activity last month and hired more staff to cope with rising workloads.
  • The Guardian: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said Britain's housing market, buoyed by record low interest rates and several government-backed subsidies for home buyers, was in danger of over-heating without further action by ministers and regulators.
  • The Daily Telegraph: FCA faces losing its power to impose fines on banks and bankers under a Treasury consultation on Britain's regulatory regime.
  • The Guardian: France's government has dismissed General Electric's €12.4 billion (£10.2 billion) offer for the energy division of Alstom as "not good enough".

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Almost two-thirds of voters, including half of Conservative supporters, want the next government to be tougher with big business, amid widespread concern over high executive pay and ethics, according to a survey.
  • Financial Times: JP Morgan Chase is closing the accounts of current and former foreign government officials, sparking an angry reaction to its drive to avoid penalties for anti-money laundering violations.
  • Financial Times: The UK government toughened its tone against Pfizer’s £63 billion takeover approach for AstraZeneca yesterday, as Vince Cable signalled that he was considering extending the coalition’s legal powers to safeguard jobs and investment in Britain’s science base.
  • Financial Times: Payday lenders have been accused of causing “enormous customer detriment” by pursuing a business model that requires repeat borrowing to generate profits.
  • Financial Times: Switzerland, the world’s largest offshore financial centre, has pledged automatically to hand the details of foreign bank accounts to other countries in one of the most significant breakthroughs in the global crackdown on evasion.
  • Financial Times: The OECD has urged the European Central Bank to cut interest rates, even as it said it expected the recovery in advanced economies to accelerate this year.
  • Financial Times: Royal Mail will not raise the pay and incentives of Moya Greene, its Canadian chief executive, at her own request – thus avoiding a potential clash with the government.
  • Financial Times: Several investors have criticised the pay policy of Standard Chartered as two leading shareholder groups have recommended voting against the new binding resolution on the bank’s remuneration structure.
  • Financial Times: Balfour Beatty shares tumbled 20% after the UK construction group ousted its chief executive and issued a third profit warning in 18 months.
  • Financial Times: Siemens unveiled a strategic overhaul with plans for a public listing of its hearing-aid business and the acquisition of turbine assets from Rolls-Royce, as new chief executive Joe Kaeser sought to close the profitability gap with rivals.
  • Financial Times: Hedge funds that specialise in trading on European mergers and acquisitions are receiving investment inflows and hiring staff as a result of the recent jump in deal activity in the continent, such as GE’s $13.5 billion proposed acquisition of Alstom’s energy business and Pfizer’s £63 billion offer for AstraZeneca.
  • Financial Times: Robert McAlpine, the builder of the new US embassy in London, has plunged into the red as a result of substantial losses on a Bermuda hospital contract.
  • Financial Times: Zoopla Property Group, the online property portal, has ridden the boom in the UK housing market, reporting a 26% rise in revenue in the six months to the end of March compared with the same period 12 months earlier.
  • Financial Times: Twitter shares tumbled nearly 18% yesterday after the end of restrictions on insider sales following its initial public offering last November.
  • Financial Times: Morgan Stanley’s wealth management arm has been fined $5 million by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority over its sales of initial public offerings, including Facebook, to retail investors.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Blinkx, the Aim-quoted video advertising company, fell 9% on Tuesday after full-year results showed only a modest rise in profits before tax.
  • Financial Times: The chief executive of Adidas was forced to defend himself from an attack by one of the company’s largest shareholders amid concerns that the sportswear company is falling behind its arch-rival Nike.
  • Financial Times: Telefónica has sweetened the terms of its proposed €8.6 billion takeover of German rival E-Plus in a new bid to gain approval from competition regulators – but has stopped short of giving up more customers or telecoms spectrum to a new mobile network operator.
  • Financial Times: The world’s 25 best-paid hedge fund managers took home a combined $21.1 billion, 50% more than in 2012, as surging equity markets helped them to one of their highest earning years since the financial crisis.
  • Financial Times: The box office success of Frozen, the highest grossing animated film ever released, pushed Walt Disney’s quarterly profits past expectations as it also reported strong gains at its theme parks division.
  • Financial Times: UBS is to overhaul its legal structure to make it easier to break up the bank in a crisis, in a move designed to lower its capital requirements and enable it to pay a special dividend.
  • Financial Times: Fiat Chrysler plans to slash its €10 billion net debt burden by at least 90% over the next five years under an ambitious plan that would increase the Italian-American automaker’s worldwide vehicle sales by more than 2 million annually.
  • Financial Times: Pierre-Henri Flamand, the former Goldman Sachs proprietary trader whose high-profile hedge fund Edoma Partners closed down in November 2012 after two years, is to join Man Group, according to three people familiar with the situation.
  • Financial Times: Sir Brian Souter, the Scottish chairman of transport group Stagecoach, is expanding his own bus business across Europe as he develops his portfolio of private investments; the Stagecoach founder plans to double the size of his intercity bus business in Poland and Ukraine.
  • Financial Times: Tesco is poised to launch a smartphone towards the end of this year, building on its low-cost tablet, as it seeks to turn round its UK business and fight back against digital rivals.
  • Financial Times: Glencore Xstrata has revealed further problems with one of the “greenfield” projects it inherited through its takeover of rival mining group Xstrata, underlining the difficulties of developing large mines from scratch in far-flung locations.
  • Financial Times: Aberdeen Asset Management’s chief executive insisted Europe’s biggest independent investment group was in “good shape”, despite a drop in profits and outflows as the company was hit by emerging market volatility.
  • Financial Times: Apple has welcomed its long-awaited new retail chief Angela Ahrendts with a stock grant worth up to $68 million.
  • Daily Mail: Sales are taking off at Heathrow Airport and Terminal 2 has become 'retail heaven'.
  • Daily Mail: Bosses at Mothercare have had to reassure the market after its shares fell 7% that the firm expects to hit annual profit targets and has not breached agreements with banks over the terms of its loans.
  • The Guardian: Russia demands $3.8 billion security deposit from Visa and Mastercard; international credit card companies face a "severe impact" on their operations in Russia following a strict new law Moscow has adopted in response to Visa and Mastercard freezing service to banks under US sanctions.
  • The Guardian: Britain is to review whether punishments for bankers who break the rules are tough enough to deter others from doing wrong in the financial markets.
  • The Guardian: BMW is heading for a record year after surging Chinese demand for its cars helped to drive profits higher in the first quarter.
  • The Independent: US coffee giant Starbucks is bringing its cheaper coffee brand to the UK to compete with rivals such as McDonalds as it faces flagging sales.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Glencore Xstrata's copper production rose by 24% following the company's expansion in Congo and Australia.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Two of Britain’s biggest engineering companies, Weir and Rolls-Royce, are joining forces to gain a bigger share of the $1 billion plus global market for fracking equipment.
  • Financial Times: Asia Resource Minerals, the mining company set up by Nat Rothschild and formerly known as Bumi, has received a proposal from its largest shareholder for its winding up and delisting – in what would be another high-profile retreat from London by an emerging markets resources group.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Carphone Warehouse and Dixons expected to announce £3.7 billion merger around 15 May, when Dixons Retail is due to update the markets on full-year trading.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Asian gaming: is it time to cash in on the region’s casino investment game?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bayer / Merck: acquisition of Merck’s consumer health business looks expensive.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Markit: data provider challenges Bloomberg’s dominance.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Manchester United: investors may find themselves footing the bill for new players this summer.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Office Depot: bigger savings imply the core business is lossmaking.

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