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Thursday Papers: Lloyds investors ‘mugged’ over acquisition of HBOS

Thursday Papers: Lloyds investors ‘mugged’ over acquisition of HBOS

Top stories

  • The Times: Shareholders of Lloyds TSB were “mugged” and subjected to “spin and sales puff” when the bank recommended that they approve its catastrophic acquisition of Halifax Bank of Scotland in 2008, the High Court was told.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund has joined a growing number of critics to the proposals made by the UK financial watchdog that will ease rules for companies listing in London - a move widely seen as an attempt to lure oil giant Saudi Aramco to float in Britain.
  • Financial Times: German construction group Hochtief has made a counterbid of close to €19 billion for Abertis in a move expected to start a pan-European takeover battle for one of the world’s largest toll road operators.
  • The Times: Britain is fighting a Brussels “rip-off” that adds up to €7 billion (£6.25 billion) to the Brexit divorce bill by inflating the cost of pension liabilities for retired European Union officials.
  • Financial Times: SoftBank’s efforts to become a dominant investor in the US have run into roadblocks in Washington, where national security regulators have yet to clear at least three of the Japanese conglomerate’s deals struck since Donald Trump became president.

Business and economics

  • The Times: The Dow Jones industrial average breached the 23,000 barrier for the first time last night as the White House promised that tax reform would be ready by the end of the year.
  • Financial Times: Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has brought more than $20 billion back onshore to cushion the impact of a regional embargo imposed on the Gulf state.
  • Financial Times: Credit Suisse’s biggest shareholder Harris Associates is to urge the bank’s management to consider elements of an activist investor break-up plan, including the idea of shifting the domicile of the group’s investment banking arm from Switzerland to the US.
  • The Guardian: Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has been charged with fraud in the US and fined £27.4 million in the UK after being accused of overstating the value of African coal assets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Airline giant IAG hit a fresh two-decade high after Credit Suisse said that the British Airways owner will put on the burners and fly higher in the final quarter of the year.
  • Financial Times: Revenues at estate agent Foxtons continued to slide in the third quarter, as a slowdown in the London housing market weighed on rents.
  • The Times: Reckitt Benckiser has issued its second sales warning this year and unveiled plans for another corporate shake-up.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in the low-cost airline Flybe plummeted after it incurred higher than expected costs in the first half of its financial year, following a detailed review of its aircraft maintenance.
  • Financial Times: Rathbone Brothers, one of the UK’s largest wealth management companies, said on Wednesday that its assets grew in the latest quarter thanks to investor inflows as well as gains in the value of securities in client portfolios.
  • The Times: A revamp of Ebay’s online marketplace helped it to attract nearly two million new customers in the third quarter.
  • The Times: The board of Revolution Bars Group announced the abrupt exit of its chief executive a day after the company’s shareholders rejected a recommended £101.5 million takeover bid from Stonegate Pub Company.
  • The Times: Lord Barker of Battle, the former Conservative energy minister, has been appointed chairman of En+, an energy and metals group owned by Oleg Deripaska that is preparing to float in London.
  • Financial Times: The chairman of Danone, the French food group under pressure from a US activist investor, is stepping down and handing his responsibilities to chief executive Emmanuel Faber as part of a wider move to streamline the management team.
  • : The financier George Soros has transferred about $18 billion (£13.7 billion) to his human rights foundation, Open Society Foundation, bringing his lifetime giving to $32 billion and making the foundation one of the world’s largest.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): AVOID Asos; AVOID Rathbone Brothers; BUY RWS Holdings.
  • Financial Times: Canada’s Scotiabank has put its gold business up for sale in the aftermath of a multibillion-dollar money laundering scandal centred on a US refinery that involved smuggled gold from South America.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Hearst, the magazine giant behind titles including Elle, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, has agreed to buy a raft of titles from Rodale, as print advertising revenue continues to be squeezed in the industry.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Australian owners of Newcastle airport have snapped up Leeds Bradford airport in a deal that is understood to be worth more than £200 million.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Investing in China: under Xi Jinping, state-owned enterprises offer jobs for life but poor returns.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Reckitt Benckiser: there’s some value in the household goods company’s plan to divide itself.
  • Financial Times (Lex): IBM: the technology company is close to finally increasing revenues — then what?.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Akzo/AstraZeneca: the experience of the pharma group is a useful guide for Akzo investors.
  • Financial Times (Lex): SoftBank/Cfius: regulators have heightened interest in complex deal structures.

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