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Wednesday Papers: Pfizer admits Astra deal would mean cuts

Wednesday Papers: Pfizer admits Astra deal would mean cuts

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Pfizer acknowledged that its proposed £63 billion takeover of AstraZeneca will lead to job cuts and a fall in research and development spending, as expectations mounted that it will raise the informal offer for its UK-based rival.
  • Financial Times: Google and other US internet giants are braced for a blizzard of requests from European citizens demanding that sensitive personal information be removed from search results after a landmark ruling that redefines privacy in the internet age.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Sir Jon Cunliffe, Bank of England's deputy governor for financial stability, insisted that new rules to prevent banks becoming 'too big to fail' are necessary.
  • The Guardian: The government has held back the recovery with a string of policy changes that have made the tax system "more complicated, less efficient and less transparent", according to Paul Johnson, head of the respected thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • The Independent: City hopes of a takeover bid for Vodafone by AT&T were dashed after it emerged the American telecoms giant is in advanced talks over a $50 billion (£30 billion) move for US satellite TV operator DirecTV.
  • Financial Times: Independent directors of Essar Energy have “reluctantly” recommended that minority shareholders accept a hostile offer from the controlling Ruia family to take the oil and power group private.
  • Financial Times: BNP Paribas is being pushed to pay more than $3.5 billion in penalties as US authorities seek to bring criminal charges against the French bank for allegedly violating sanctions, a person familiar with the negotiations said.
  • The Guardian: Heathrow unveiled a revised £15.6 billion plan for Britain's biggest airport on the deadline for submission to the government's Airports Commission, which will choose between Heathrow and Gatwick for an extra runway in south-east England.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Bob Diamond is aiming to more than double his war chest for African bank acquisitions, with a second fundraising in less than six months as he prepares for more purchases in the sector.
  • Financial Times: Ed Balls, shadow chancellor, said Mr Osborne needed to rein in the Help to Buy scheme in London, and put fresh effort into building new towns and more social housing to boost supply.
  • Financial Times: Subsidies for large solar farms are to be scrapped in what the industry described as a crippling blow after ministers said the projects were being built so quickly they could become unaffordable.
  • Financial Times: Olli Rehn, the EU economic and monetary affairs chief, has said David Cameron has no reason to fear eurozone countries ganging up on Britain and attempting to hobble the City with protectionist regulation.
  • Financial Times: A warning shot has been fired to the UK’s payday lenders as one of the sector’s largest companies exits the market under regulatory pressure; as part of an agreement with the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK watchdog, the Cheque Centre is to stop selling loans that have to be repaid in one lump sum.
  • Financial Times: Anil Agarwal, billionaire founder of London-listed Vedanta Resources, has rebuffed speculation that he plans to delist his India-focused mining and energy conglomerate and pledges to simplify the group’s complex structure.
  • Financial Times: Airbus, the European aerospace group, reported that orders and profits dropped in the first quarter, and emphasised that its focus this year was on restructuring its defence and space divisions.
  • Financial Times: AT&T’s negotiations on a near-$50 billion bid for DirecTV, like Sprint’s desire to buy T-Mobile US, look likely to test US regulators’ willingness to rethink traditional definitions of competition and public interest issues in the converging broadband, telecoms and video industries.
  • Financial Times: Wealth management company Brewin Dolphin is set to take a £32 million hit after uncovering “issues” with computer software it was planning to roll out across its business.
  • Financial Times: Volkswagen said that a Skr200 a share offer to Scania minority shareholders, first tabled in February, had obtained acceptances that correspond to 90.5% of Scania’s share capital, when combined with shares that VW already owns. Under Swedish law VW is therefore able to squeeze out remaining Scania shareholders and delist the company.
  • Financial Times: Eon, Germany’s biggest utility by market value, posted a steep decline in core earnings on Tuesday as its strategy of expanding in emerging markets showed little sign of compensating for weakness at home.
  • Financial Times: Motorsport’s electric car championship has completed funding for its first season by securing investor backing from US tech company Qualcomm, paving the way for the first race in the series around Beijing’s Olympic Park in September; promoters Formula E Holdings raised €50 million from Qualcomm, which is already a series sponsor, and private equity fund Amura Capital.
  • Financial Times: A UK court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by Turkish group Çukurova in a long-running dispute with Nordic telecommunications company TeliaSonera over a controlling stake in Turkey’s biggest mobile operator, Turkcell.
  • Financial Times: Speedy Hire bemoaned the lingering effects of an accounting scandal in its overseas division that pared back full-year earnings and on Tuesday claimed another senior member of the tool rental company’s management team.
  • Financial Times: Telecom Italia has predicted a recovery in earnings this year as the Italian mobile market reaches a cyclical low point after another steep fall in profits for the first quarter.
  • Financial Times: Bernie Ecclestone originally offered a German banker $80 million to facilitate the sale of a 47% stake in Formula One to his preferred bidder, a Munich court heard on Tuesday - almost twice the $44 million prosecutors say the F1 chief executive eventually paid.
  • Financial Times: BitPay, whose software is used by Virgin Galactic to let people pay for space flights with Bitcoins, has become the world’s most well-funded Bitcoin company after securing a $30 million investment.
  • Financial Times: Thomas von Koch, the new chief of EQT Partners, Scandinavia’s largest buyout group, says too much money is shifting to the region too quickly, propelling asset prices to unsustainable highs, European equities are trading at six-year highs; adding to the pressure, US buyout houses are back hunting for investments in Europe after a pause during the eurozone crisis, warning another bubble is looming.
  • Financial Times: Germany-based consultancy and services company Bilfinger has bought Britain’s biggest independent commercial property adviser, GVA, in an attempt to build a pan-European real estate adviser to compete with the established Anglo-American firms.
  • Financial Times: Société Générale has highlighted its Russian operations as a key driver of growth over the next three years less than a week after taking a €525 million writedown on the division amid the escalating diplomatic crisis over Ukraine.
  • Financial Times: Paddy Power is searching for a new chief executive after the Dublin-based betting operator announced Patrick Kennedy would be stepping down.
  • Financial Times: Summer season demand from UK holidaymakers is helping Tui Travel to push up prices, offsetting weaker markets in continental Europe.
  • Financial Times: EasyJet on Tuesday posted a smaller loss than had been forecast, helped by measures from cost-cutting to attracting more business travellers.
  • Financial Times: Fewer pub tenants are going out of business, which helped Enterprise Inns post a third consecutive quarter of growth for the first time since 2008, as Britain’s pubs industry continued its recent recovery.
  • The Guardian: Britain is falling behind its global peers in the amount it spends on research and development, according to a new report.
  • The Guardian: Labour released figures that show the return of economic growth has overwhelmingly benefited the top 1% of earners.
  • The Guardian: National Express will face combined union pressure from Jim Hoffa Jr, president of the American Teamsters, and Len McCluskey from Unite at its annual meeting on Wednesday in a long-running dispute over recognition in the transport firm's North American school bus divisions.
  • The Guardian: Britain's big four banks were forced to set aside £21.5 billion to cover fines and customer redress in 2013, according to research.
  • The Guardian: Britain's economy is settling into above-trend growth, while leading emerging economies such as China, Brazil, India and Russia are losing steam, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  • Daily Mail: Leading bank Berenberg has accused Vince Cable of selling Royal Mail shares 'on the cheap'.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Chinese central bank has ordered 15 commercial banks to boost loans to first-time buyers as property slump threatens to drag down economy.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Danone is in talks with Nestlé and other potential buyers over the disposal of most of its medical nutrition division, as it eyes an expansion of its baby food business; French group, which is being advised by JP Morgan, stands to raise up to €5 billion from a sale, analysts said.
  • Financial Times: The London Stock Exchange Group is one of a handful of bidders in the auction for Russell Investments in what would be the UK exchange’s biggest acquisition in its 213-year history.
  • Financial Times: London Cornwall Property Partners is to spin off its £40 million student accommodation portfolio with a £110 million initial public offering, in a sign that some student housing operators’ financial troubles have not dented investor appetite.
  • Financial Times: Private equity-backed sandwich chain Eat has arranged a £40 million refinancing, as “food-on-the-go” chains stock up on funding to pay for an expansion spree.
  • Financial Times (Lex): JD.com: cash and carry.
  • Financial Times (Lex): AT&T/DirecTV: Coming out on top.
  • Financial Times (Lex): RBS: Citizens arrest.
  • Financial Times (Lex): SocGen: adventure travel.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Essar Energy: minority retort.

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