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Wednesday Papers: Theresa May prepares €20bn EU budget offer

Wednesday Papers: Theresa May prepares €20bn EU budget offer

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Germany’s Angela Merkel has been told by the British government to expect Theresa May this week to offer to fill a post-Brexit EU budget hole of at least €20 billion, the first attempt by London to meet European demands to settle its divorce bill.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Treasury Select Committee has questioned a decision by the UK audit watchdog to clear KPMG over its work with HBOS just before its rescue, with chairman Nicky Morgan demanding a full explanation as to why the auditor has been allowed to get off scot-free.
  • The Times: The Takeover Panel yesterday appeared to endorse the government’s plans to bring in tougher rules for companies buying British businesses, including forcing foreign purchasers to make commitments to keep research in Britain.
  • Financial Times: Norway’s oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has topped $1 trillion in assets for the first time in its history.
  • Financial Times: Donald Trump warned Pyongyang that America would “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies, as the US president used his debut address to the UN general assembly to issue stark threats to a “wicked few” oppressive regimes.

Business and economics

  • The Times: Almost nine years after the Federal Reserve began its quantitative easing programme to stabilise the American economy amid the financial crisis, it is expected today to signal the start of a process that will slowly reduce the almost $4.5 trillion on its balance sheet.
  • The Guardian: Equifax, the credit monitoring agency that lost personal data of 143 million US customers in a massive hack in May, has revealed that it was also the victim of an earlier breach in March.
  • Financial Times: Jefferies telegraphed a lacklustre third quarter for the trading arms of the big investment banks on Tuesday, blaming unusually calm markets for a 27% fall in revenues from bond trading.
  • The Guardian: Toys R Us has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada after running up $5 billion (£3.7 billion) of debts and struggling to compete in the age of internet shopping.
  • The Daily Telegraph: French oil company Total is in talks with tech giants Google and Microsoft to help develop bespoke artificial intelligence (AI) in the energy sector’s race to tap digital technologies.
  • The Daily Telegraph: British Airways has begun consultations with employees and trade bodies over a new pension plan a fortnight after its proposal to close its earlier scheme was blasted by unions.
  • Daily Mail: A surge in demand for denim and knitwear helped French Connection cut losses as it prepared to open its first shop in a decade.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Plans to turn around tool equipment firm Speedy Hire appear to be taking effect as the company reported that figures for the first half of the year are likely to be better than originally forecast.
  • The Times: A fall in basket sizes and talk of an extra “couple of million” pounds needed to run its new distribution centres took the shine off a solid third quarter from Ocado.
  • The Times: Supermarket sales have risen for the sixth consecutive month as food price inflation continues to increase the average British family’s shopping bill.
  • Financial Times: KPMG and McKinsey have been hit further by the fallout of the growing political scandal involving South Africa’s Gupta family that has already caused the collapse of British PR firm Bell Pottinger.
  • Financial Times: Sina, one of China’s oldest internet companies, has hit back against a US hedge fund Aristeia Capital that has launched a proxy fight in a rare test of the power of foreign shareholders in Chinese conglomerates.
  • Financial Times: Reckitt Benckiser has bowed to shareholder pressure by replacing Adrian Bellamy, who has chaired the company for 14 years, and the head of its remuneration committee.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): HOLD Next; SELL Savannah Resources; HOLD Sky.
  • The Times (Tempus share tips): Spain eases the pain of British slowdown.
  • The Daily Telegraph: German dairy business Müller is defying worries about Brexit’s impact by revealing plans for £100 million of investment in its UK business.
  • Financial Times: US group CBS, dealing a potential knockout blow to a rival offer from a consortium linked to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
  • Financial Times: An activist investor group - White Tale Holdings, which is composed of Corvex and a fund called 40 North - has increased its stake in Swiss chemicals group Clariant to 15.1% and repeated demands that it drop a planned $20 billion tie-up with Huntsman Corp of the US.
  • Financial Times: Post Holdings, owner of the British cereal Weetabix, has agreed to buy Bob Evans Farms, the US sausage maker, for $1.5 billion, bringing another breakfast staple to its growing shelf of consumer brands.
  • Financial Times: Best Logistics, which was to launch the biggest Chinese initial public offering in New York this year, has slashed its price range and offering size after muted interest from investors during its international roadshow.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Red lines will have to move to fire up a new world of trade for the UK.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Sina/Aristeia: activist move could map a route for future assaults on other US-listed Chinese groups.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Toys R Us: a successful turnround is not assured.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Boeing/Bombardier: the US group’s curious legal course suggests instrument trouble.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Aluminium: despite 18 months of surging metals prices, now is not the time to sell.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Ubiquiti/Citron: the short seller’s call on the tech group may see it reverse its unhappy trend.

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