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Wednesday Papers: Vodafone and Liberty locked in cable war

Wednesday Papers: Vodafone and Liberty locked in cable war

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins plans to take an axe to the cost structure of the bank, closing a quarter of its 1,600 branches in the UK and cutting hundreds of investment banking jobs.
  • The Guardian: Lloyds Banking Group is axing half of the relationship managers handling queries from small businesses as part of more than 1,300 redundancies announced on Tuesday.
  • Financial Times: Liberty Global is going head to head with Vodafone to buy Spain’s largest cable operator, Ono, as the pair intensify their battle to snap up big chunks of Europe’s broadband infrastructure.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Bitcoin has taken a big step towards being accepted into the mainstream after the New York Finance Department, the world’s largest financial centre, laid out plans to regulate the controversial virtual currency.
  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland is to stop providing dozens of currency benchmarks, as regulatory rate-rigging probes raise doubts about the integrity of daily price fixings in the global foreign exchange market.
  • The Guardian: RBS prepares for criticism as it finalises bonuses worth hundreds of millions of pounds despite predicted losses of £8 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Lloyds Banking Group has pushed the button on its £1.5 billion-plus float of TSB after rejecting an 11th-hour approach from a group of institutional investors.
  • The Guardian: More than 70 people have lost their jobs after a row between high-street retailer Argos and KMS Components, a Welsh electronics supplier, over licensing of Google software forced the company into administration.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: BNP Paribas has dismissed a small number of staff who attempted to manipulate the setting of Australia’s benchmark interbank borrowing rates in the latest of a series of global interest rate rigging scandals.
  • Financial Times: A slump in profits from conventional power plants will force RWE to write down €3.3 billion when Germany’s second-biggest utility reports 2013 earnings.
  • The Guardian: Vodafone shareholders have voted almost unanimously to approve a £51 billion cash and shares bonanza from the sale of the mobile firm's American subsidiary Verizon Wireless, giving the green light to the largest single return of value to investors in corporate history.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Yahoo weakened in after-hours trading after the company reported a 6% drop in GAAP revenue to $4.7 billion in 2013 and a 2% fall in the closely watched metric of revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs; however, the company reported non-GAAP earnings per share of $1.52 for the full year, higher than the average analyst estimate of $1.45 per share.
  • Financial Times: Siembens rallied behind chief executive Joe Kaeser’s efforts to stabilise the group with net income hike of 20% to €1.46 billion beating expectations in its fiscal first quarter, but the strong euro weighed on revenues.
  • Financial Times: The Winklevoss twins have called for a sheriff to police the “wild, wild west” of virtual currencies after the founder of a company they backed was charged with money laundering offences.
  • The Guardian: Paul Flowers, the disgraced former chairman of the Co-operative Bank, was appointed to the post because he did better than rival candidates in psychometric tests, the Treasury select committee of MPs was told on Tuesday.
  • The Independent: Britain's economic output grew at its fastest pace in January since September 2007, the Confederation of British Industry said on Tuesday.
  • Financial Times: International Mineral Resources, an investment company controlled by the founders of ENRC - the miner that delisted last year from the London Stock Exchange amid corruption allegations - claims it has suffered “considerable losses” as a result of a decision by a Dutch court to freeze €886.5 million of its assets.
  • Financial Times: BMO Financial Group said it planned to become a “globally significant money manager” after agreeing to buy F&C Asset Management for £700 million.
  • Financial Times: Ford rode strong demand for its F-series trucks in the US and a surge in Chinese demand to post full-year pre-tax profit of $8.6 billion and its highest automotive profits for more than a decade.
  • Financial Times: Intesa Sanpaolo has become the first Italian bank to repay the crisis loans it took from the European Central Bank two years ago, in the latest sign of a revival in the peripheral eurozone economies.
  • Financial Times: Ikea reported a rise of just 3.1% in both net profit and sales in the year to the end of August, well below the average 10% revenue growth it is targeting this decade.
  • Financial Times: Honda became a net US exporter last year, according to figures released on Tuesday, which showed it shipped 108,705 Honda and Acura brand vehicles, while importing 88,537 vehicles from Japan.
  • Financial Times: Global smartphone shipments surpassed 1 billion last year for the first time, driven by demand for cheaper devices that contrasted with slowing growth at the higher end of the market.
  • The Guardian: Manchester United are at the centre of a bidding war for a kit deal that could be worth a record £70 million a year, with Nike, Adidas, Warrior and Puma reportedly vying to win the contract.
  • Daily Mail: Carpetright has issued its second profits alert within just a few months after its Netherlands operation ran into trading trouble.
  • Daily Express: Food supplier Greencore Group said soaring demand for lunchtime sandwiches helped it raise revenues 7.2% to £320.5 million in the 13 weeks to 27 December.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: AO.com, the online electricals retailer, is aiming for a £1 billion valuation when it floats on the London Stock Exchange later this year – more than treble the market capitalisation it was hoping to achieve just four months ago.
  • Financial Times: Buyout house Permira is in talks to buy a controlling stake in Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, in the latest sign of investor appetite for Italian luxury brands.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): The smarter criticism quibbles not with the pace of the recovery, but its direction.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Bonus culture has become so warped that bankers presiding over losses of £8 billion still think they deserve a reward.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Those on the lowest incomes should pay no tax at all; while the hard-pressed middle class should face a flat tax.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Britain's economic recovery: unbalanced and unsustainable.
  • Financial Times (Lex): DR Horton: the shares have jumped on better-than-expected revenue and earnings, but homebuilders look expensive.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Martin Marietta: having been ditched at the altar once, is it wise to rush marriage with Texas Industries?
  • Financial Times (Lex): EM bonds: an index may prove less volatile than individual credits.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Nigerian oil: investors prefer not to value the country, but it means a lot to one explorer.

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Profile: Kevin Doran's formula for success at AJ Bell

Profile: Kevin Doran's formula for success at AJ Bell

From a degree in theoretical physics to teaching and becoming one of the youngest chief investment officers in the UK, Kevin Doran has certainly had an interesting career.

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