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Thursday Papers: Disney trumps Comcast with $71bn offer for Fox

And Berkeley warns that profits are set to dip 30% in 2019 on lower London house prices.

 
Thursday Papers: Disney trumps Comcast with $71bn offer for Fox

Top stories

  • The Times: Walt Disney has increased the offer for 21st Century Fox’s prized entertainment and distribution businesses to $71.3 billion offer trumping Comcast’s rival bid of $65 billion.
  • Financial Times: Housebuilder Berkeley Group has warned possible dip in annual profits in 2019 due to lowered prices in London while reporting 15% rise in pre-tax profit for financial year 2018.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Airlines IAG and Ryanair are launching legal action against the French government over air traffic control strikes, saying it is an issue which has been "forced on airlines and forced on our customers".
  • Financial Times: Government has asked explanation from HS2 high speed rail project if the company provided false figures in its budget to mislead parliament over the cost of acquiring property.
  • Financial Times: President Donald Trump has reversed his controversial policy of separating children from their parents after illegal border crossings, following mounting criticism.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: The government plans to safeguard London’s position as the world’s leading financial centre after Brexit by signing a series of financial partnerships with non-EU countries that will make the UK a gateway to financial markets.
  • The Times: The European Union will target €2.8 billion of American products from speedboats and motorcycles to orange juice and cigarettes as it hits back tomorrow against President Trump’s steep tariffs on steel.
  • The Times: The housing market in England and Wales has lost more than £1 billion in value in only a year as the sharp slowdown in London’s housing market dragged down the total, first time since 2011.
  • The Guardian: Video giant YouTube lost a crucial vote in Brussels over new copyright laws that will force it to pay billions of dollars in fees for users watching music videos.
  • The Times: Severfield, which provides structural steelwork for Britain’s biggest construction projects, is delivering investors a 13% rise in its dividend after working on large projects in London last year.
  • Daily Mail: Defence giant BAE Systems has struck a deal worth up to £1 billion to sell amphibious tanks to the US Marines.
  • The Guardian: American Outdoor Brands Corporation, the gunmaker formerly known as Smith & Wesson, reported 32.8% drop in sales.
  • Financial Times: Noble Group has been able to move ahead with its $3.5 billion restructuring plan after receiving approval from dissident shareholder Goldilocks Investment.
  • Daily Mail: Tool hire group HSS has secured a refinancing deal with its lenders as it battles to turn its financial fortunes around.
  • The Times: Restaurant business Prescott & Conran, owned by Terence Conran, went into administration becoming the latest big name in the restaurant sector to hit financial trouble.
  • The Guardian: The online casino company 32Red has been fined £2 million for missing 22 opportunities to help a problem gambler, offering the customer VIP status and free bonuses instead of advice.
  • Financial Times: David Drumm, former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, has been handed six-year prison sentence for a €7.2 billion fraud and false accounting at the failed lender.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Legal & General; HOLD Berkeley Group.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): BUY Johnson Matthey; HOLD Kromek.
  • The Times: Volkswagen and Ford have announced a “strategic alliance” to develop a new generation of commercial vehicles, as rival manufacturers explore ways to co-operate.
  • The Times: Sports Direct has sold its shares in Finish Line, the American footwear chain that has been taken over by the rival JD Sports, for about £34 million.
  • Financial Times: Oil trade Vitol has announced a A$5 billion listing of its Australian fuel distribution and refining business, named Viva Energy.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Government has given green light to the takeover of the Express and Star newspapers by Reach, the publisher formerly known as Trinity Mirror, clearing the way for sharp cost-cutting.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Royal Dutch Shell has pruned more than a billion dollars from its global oil portfolio by selling off assets in Norway and Malaysia.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Sainsbury’s takeover of Asda could do with some rigorous scrutiny.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): China First' pursuit of hi-tech hegemony was bound to provoke America.
  • Financial Times: French energy utility Engie has sold its 69.1% stake in Glow, an independent power producer listed in Thailand, in a deal worth up to €2.6 billion.

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