What the other papers say this morning - 09 December 2013

FINANCIAL TIMES

HSBC eyes listing of £20bn UK bank
HSBC has sounded out investors about a flotation of its UK arm, in a move that would realise value from its high street banking business and address regulatory pressures. The bank has in recent weeks asked investors whether they would support the sale of a sizeable stake. It has also discussed the issue informally at board level, according to people familiar with the project. If Stuart Gulliver, HSBC’s chief executive, presses ahead with the plan it will partially reverse the group’s landmark acquisition of the UK’s Midland Bank more than 20 years ago.

Bitcoin fuelling rise in cyber attacks
Bitcoin has fuelled a surge in the number of cyber attacks where computers and personal data are held hostage in return for ransoms paid in the almost-anonymous virtual currency.

Independent Scots face higher food bill
Scottish consumers will pay more for food if they vote for independence in next year’s referendum because Britain’s big supermarket chains plan to raise their prices north of the border, senior executives have warned. Top executives representing three of the Big Four supermarket groups told the Financial Times that they currently absorbed the extra costs of doing business in Scotland into their UK operation. But they are privately talking about halting this if Scotland becomes an independent nation.

THE TIMES

De Vere sale to push up losses at Lloyds
Lloyds Banking Group is preparing to kick-start the sell-off of De Vere Group in a move that could push total write-offs on the taxpayer-supported bank’s backing of the hotel and leisure operator to almost £900m. De Vere, which is close to agreeing a £230m sale of its conference venues, is understood to be preparing to hire JP Morgan to advise it on options for selling off its hotels, which are worth an estimated £600m.

Candy warning over luxury property
Nick Candy, the chief executive of Candy & Candy, has said that the rush to develop high-end luxury flats in London could lead to an oversupply that, in turn, could hit values.

The Daily Telegraph

Treasury holds talks over Dunfermline
The Treasury is working with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to quantify how much of nearly £780m owed to UK taxpayers will be returned in the wake of Dunfermline Building Society’s collapse four years ago.

Axe carbon tax says ScottishPower chief
Britain’s unilateral carbon tax should be scrapped before it causes blackouts, pushes up bills and makes the UK uncompetitive, ScottishPower argues. Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer, warns that the “carbon price floor” will make the UK’s remaining coal plants “largely uneconomic by around the middle of the decade”.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
EUROPE

Global R&D spending to slow
Global growth in spending on research and development is expected to falter this year as a result of the weak US and European economies, though it will likely pick up again next year, according to a new forecast. Global R&D spending is set to rise 2.7 per cent to $1.558 trillion in 2013.

US media firms stymied in China
China’s recent clampdown on foreign media is crimping the expansion plans of Western news organizations, at a time when many experts believe the Chinese market for news and financial data could be poised for explosive growth.