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Friday Papers: Fox-Sky takeover heads for full competition inquiry

And investors are angry at Financial Conduct Authority over softer rules for Saudi Aramco float.

 
Friday Papers: Fox-Sky takeover heads for full competition inquiry

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has declined to table a new offer to protect the editorial independence of Sky News, almost certainly triggering a full inquiry by the British competition authorities into the US media group’s £11.7 billion takeover of satellite broadcaster Sky.
  • The Times: A row has erupted between the big investment institutions and the chief City regulator over plans published yesterday to change stock market rules to enable Saudi Arabia’s gigantic state-controlled oil company to list its shares in London.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Government’s only sale of Royal Bank of Scotland shares left the taxpayer nursing a bigger-than-expected £1.9 billion loss, according to calculations by the National Audit Office that cast even more doubt on the state’s ability to profit from its rescue of the lender.
  • Financial Times: One of the UK government’s biggest contractors and an employer of 50,000 people worldwide, Carillion is fighting for survival after a calamitous fall in its share price wiped nearly three-quarters off the company’s value in three days.
  • Financial Times: The government’s own finances would fail miserably the stress tests applied to banks, Britain’s independent fiscal watchdog Office for Budget Responsibility said on Thursday in a report that laid bare the vulnerability of the public purse.

Business and economics

  • The Daily Telegraph: French President Emmanuel Macron has issued a brutally-candid indictment of German economic policies, rebuking the country for benefiting from the woes of other euro countries and warning that the eurozone cannot survive on such foundations.
  • The Times: The weak pound and record numbers of Chinese tourists helped drive strong growth in overseas visits to Britain in the first three months of this year.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Target, the Minneapolis-based group whose cheap-chic offerings have garnered a loyal following among middle-class shoppers, surged as it became one of the few US retailers to raise - rather than cut - its guidance to investors.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Asos has steamed past its high street rivals thanks to strong international sales and investing in beating its competition on price.
  • Daily Mail: A leading Spanish train maker is opening a factory in Wales, creating 300 jobs; CAF is ploughing £30 million into the plant at the Celtic Business Park in Newport, a former steelworks that is not far from the steel hub of Port Talbot.
  • The Times: The rapid expansion of Norwegian, the airline that is promising to bring a revolution of budget fares on transatlantic routes, is hitting the carrier hard as its latest half-year results revealed a sharp dive into the red.
  • The Times: Babcock said that a steady stream of new contracts had given the engineer a strong start to the year, suggesting that it was avoiding the pressure on public sector contracts that has brought warnings at its rivals Mitie and Carillion.
  • Daily Mail: Online retailer N Brown will hand out £40 million compensation after selling customers poor-value insurance on its clothes and homeware.
  • The Daily Mail: Burberry has suffered a shareholder revolt after nearly a third of investors voted against its pay policy at its annual general meeting yesterday.
  • Financial Times: Tata Steel paid its top European managers loyalty bonuses totalling about £25 million after its UK workers accepted a pension cut to keep the British business alive.
  • Financial Times: Bill McNabb is to step down as chief executive of Vanguard, the world’s second-largest asset management group, at the end of the year to be replaced by chief investment officer Tim Buckley.
  • The Times: Rumours that Astrazeneca’s French chief executive was in talks to defect to an Israeli rival months before the results of a crucial cancer drug are released pushed shares in the drug company down sharply yesterday.
  • Financial Times: Tiffany named luxury industry veteran Alessandro Bogliolo as its new chief executive, as the jeweller famed for robin’s-egg-blue boxes looks to turnround slumping sales.
  • Financial Times: Germany’s SAP will investigate allegations that its South African office agreed kickbacks to a company controlled by the country’s controversial Gupta family, as Europe’s largest software maker became the latest international company to be drawn into South Africa’s biggest post-apartheid political scandal.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): BUY Phoenix Spree Deutschland.
  • The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD Premier Oil; BUY Capital & Regional; AVOID Renewi.
  • The Guardian: Brazilian flip-flop brand Havaianas is being sold for nearly £850 million as its billionaire owners J&F flog the family silver to pay a £2.5 billion fine relating to a corruption scandal that is threatening to topple the country’s president.
  • The Guardian: Uber is scaling back in Russia by spinning off its operations in the country to form a new company majority-owned by local rival Yandex.
  • Daily Mail: Britain's biggest advertising agency is buying companies in western Europe amid fears it will lose influence after Brexit; WPP yesterday acquired the German agency Thjnk AG, which is based in Hamburg and employs about 400 people globally.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Kier has bought infrastructure services company McNicholas Construction as it seeks to strengthen its utilities business.
  • Financial Times: An insider group headed by chief executive Ming Mei, including powerful Chinese investors, has been named the preferred bidder to take control of Singapore-based Global Logistic Properties.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Berlin reveals true colours … all to keep China at bay.
  • Financial Times (Lex): AstraZeneca: one can see why chief executive Pascal Soriot might be tempted to move on.
  • Financial Times (Lex): TSMC: Taiwanese group is shifting into more profitable niches.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Ceconomy: new consumer electronics group makes no secret of its desire to be a consolidator.
  • Financial Times (Lex): EU banking union: moving to European supervision could free up capital for Nordic banks.
  • Financial Times (Lex): IPOs: private investors rue the day they got a golden ticket to invest in Snap and Blue Apron.

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