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Wednesday Papers: Deals fever grips pharmaceuticals industry

Wednesday Papers: Deals fever grips pharmaceuticals industry

Top stories

  • Financial Times: A near $50 billion takeover battle for the maker of Botox and a multibillion-dollar asset swap between Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline have intensified the deals frenzy that is gripping the pharmaceuticals industry.
  • The Guardian: Vince Cable has issued a stark warning to Britain's leading boardrooms that they need to crack down on bonuses to restore public trust and avert the threat of fresh legislation to limit executive pay.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BP to offload interest in four oilfields less than a year after Alaska scraped system that tied oil producers’ taxes to the price of crude.
  • The Guardian: Lending to businesses fell again in recent months but more mortgages were approved, fanning fears of a housing bubble and raising more concerns over the shape of the recovery.
  • Financial Times: One of the West Coast’s leading activist investors, Jeff Ubben, has added to the growing criticism of corporate governance in Silicon Valley, and of Google in particular, amid fresh warnings of a bubble in tech valuations.
  • Financial Times: The insurance industry outsourcer, Quindell Portfolio, saw nearly £1 billion wiped from its market value yesterday after a US short-seller, Gotham City Research, published a scathing critique of its surging profitability.
  • The Independent: A new independent report into the Co-operative Bank's 'disastrous year' is set to be scathing about former executives and board members.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Numericable, the telecoms and cable operator, is to sell a record €8.5 billion of junk bonds on Wednesday to raise funds to complete its acquisition of SFR, France’s second-biggest telecoms group.
  • Financial Times: Proposals to use Formula One technology to make buses and diggers use less energy are among the first funded under a £1 billion scheme to make the UK a world leader in environmentally friendly vehicles.
  • Financial Times: Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister, told parliamentarians that faced with the threat of more sanctions the country’s economy must reduce its dependency on imports and strengthen from within.
  • Financial Times: Tesco has ratcheted up its price campaign, paring the cost of online delivery, and announcing a fresh wave of price cuts on grocery staples.
  • Financial Times: The head of China’s powerful domestic car lobby has warned foreign car companies that their local joint ventures should not be reliant on them for technology but instead develop their own R&D capabilities – a strategy many multinational automakers have been slow to adopt.
  • Financial Times: The manner of David Moyes’ sacking as Manchester United manager tells much about how, when it comes to matters of pure football issues, the Glazer family has lost its way with its prized asset; his departure is perhaps the worst moment in the nine-year tenure of the family whose stewardship has been resented by many fans since the club’s 2005 takeover.
  • Financial Times: Electronics maker Philips warned of more difficulties in the year ahead as it blamed currency movement and weakening demand in emerging markets for a drop in profits.
  • Financial Times: The London Stock Exchange has replaced its auditor for the first time since it became a listed company in 2001, the latest FTSE 100 mandate to change hands as the European audit market undergoes wide-ranging reform.
  • Financial Times: CNPC is trying a new tack on old oilfields in northeast China, as its largest oil company tries to stem declining production and throw off the shadow of a year-long corruption probe.
  • Financial Times: General Motors looks set for a complex legal wrangle over whether it is responsible for a botched recall over faulty ignition switches after competing lawsuits were filed on Monday.
  • Financial Times: Tesla Motors made the first delivery of its premium electric cars in China on Tuesday, but only after chief executive Elon Musk apologised to some customers whose orders had been delayed.
  • Financial Times: Peter Munk, the founder and chairman of Barrick Gold, has hailed the potential benefits of merging the world’s largest gold miner with its US rival Newmont Mining, saying that investors should welcome the cost cuts and lower political risk that a combination could deliver.
  • Financial Times: Citigroup’s executives were back on the defensive yesterday as they fielded questions about the Federal Reserve’s rejection of the bank’s capital plans even as they received a vote of confidence in the management.
  • Financial Times: Lockheed Martin defied a sharp fall in its income from the US military to increase its projected full-year earnings after significantly better than expected first-quarter results.
  • Financial Times: McDonald’s reported a 5% drop in first-quarter earnings, missing expectations as harsh winter weather and a slow economic recovery kept US customers at home.
  • Financial Times: Qinetiq is to sell its US services division, closing a chapter on the defence technology company’s aggressive expansion into the country.
  • Financial Times: Colt has warned profits this year will be hit by lower prices and customer losses, renewing speculation that the British telecommunications service provider could be for sale.
  • Financial Times: Three of the UK’s biggest recruiters, Hays, Robert Walters and PageGroup, have reported strong growth driven by their domestic market, in the latest sign that the country’s economy is showing sustained recovery across regions and sectors.
  • Financial Times: Peel Ports has signed a £100 million contract for Shanghai-based Zhenhua Heavy Industries to supply cranes for its planned £300 million deep water quay in Liverpool docks, enabling it to handle some of the world’s largest vessels.
  • Financial Times: The Northern Rock Foundation, one of the UK’s biggest corporately-funded grant bodies, is to be closed after agreement on its funding could not be reached with Virgin Money.
  • Financial Times: AT&T and The Chernin Group have formed a joint venture backed with $500 million to invest in new “over-the-top” video services that use the internet to go direct to consumers.
  • Financial Times: Essenden, the bowling alley chain, is planning to raise up to £125 million to embark on an acquisition spree as it attempts to move in to other parts of the leisure sector.
  • Daily Mail: Britain to rack up fifth biggest budget deficit on record despite years of austerity; Office for National Statistics is expected to report that the Government borrowed around £110 billion in 2013-14 as spending outstripped tax revenues.
  • The Guardian: Fairer Finance found that Endsleigh, Sheila's Wheels, Esure and M&S Bank have all produced motor insurance policy documents running to over 30,000 words, making them longer than Animal Farm, which is just under that number.
  • The Guardian: Hundreds of thousands of Greeks have applied for so-called "social dividends" that the government has vowed to hand out after recording a primary budget surplus – counted before interest payments.
  • The Guardian: The CBI is facing a mounting crisis in its membership, with the Law Society of Scotland (LSS) and three other public bodies quitting on Tuesday to protect their neutrality in the Scottish referendum debate.
  • The Guardian: Hong Kong regulators have fined Royal Bank of Scotland HK$6 million (£450,000) and reprimanded the bailed-out bank for failings in internal controls that allowed one of its traders to hide losses of almost £25 million.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Sir Stelios, the airline's founder, and his family have reduced their stake to 35.68%, just over a year after they threatened to sell shares in protest at the carrier's order for 135 new Airbus jets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The pricing benchmark for two thirds of the world's oil supply, Brent, is "crumbling" and is in urgent need of reform, a new study has warned.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Unforeseen tax issues have thrown the $35 billion merger of Publicis and Omnicom into jeopardy, threatening to torpedo plans to create the world’s largest advertising and communications company by revenues.
  • Financial Times: WH Group, the world’s biggest pork producer, is set to shrink its initial public offering in Hong Kong after it delayed pricing of the proposed deal.
  • Financial Times: Goldcorp is to walk away from its bid for Osisko Mining after refusing to improve its offer, leaving the way free for a rival C$3.9 billion Canadian bid for the gold miner.
  • Financial Times: A private-equity bidding war for one of China’s highest-quality private hospital chains has ended with Chindex International agreeing to be acquired for $461 million by a group that includes Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical and TPG, the US buyout group.
  • Financial Times: Card Factory is to join the ranks of UK retailers listing in London in a float that is expected to give the private equity-backed group a market capitalisation of more than £700 million.
  • The Daily Telegraph: National Accident Helpline will look to raise £50 million through a flotation on Aim.
  • Financial Times (Lex): GSK / Novartis: asset reshuffle should help both sides.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Valeant / Allergan: a pharma deal with some wrinkles to smooth out to prolong the life of cash flows.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Eli Lilly: drugmaker has bought stability but diabetes is key to growth.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Nidec: component maker’s shares have doubled in 12 months.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Harley-Davidson: group is pushing its bikes on new customers – and it is working.
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