First Group attacked by US activist
FirstGroup, the UK bus and rail operator, is under attack from one of its biggest shareholders, which has called for the sale of its US businesses to pay down debt. Sandell Asset Management, a hedge fund with a stake of about three per cent, has written to the FirstGroup board to urge it to consider the sale of Greyhound, the American bus service, and its school bus division. FirstGroup acquired both businesses in a $3.6bn (£2.19bn) takeover of Laidlaw in 2007. FirstGroup shares halved in value in May after it announced a £615m rights issue and scrapped its dividend as it attempted to cut £2bn from the debt it took on to fund the Laidlaw acquisition.
Bank policy boss backs bundled debt
A top Bank of England policy maker has called for a revival in the market for bundled-up debt in Britain, saying it need not be the “bogeyman” it was during the crash and that it could play a role in boosting flows of credit to small firms. Andy Haldane, head of financial stability, said securitisation could be the “financing vehicle for all seasons” if proper standards are maintained.
Yanukovich vows to revive EU talks
Ukraine’s embattled president promised to hold renewed talks on integration with the EU as he sought to defuse anti-government protests that have pushed the country into its worst political crisis in a decade. Speaking on television, Viktor Yanukovich declared that integration efforts “have not stopped, will not stop”.
Fracking gets the green light
Britain should press ahead with fracking, the chairman of the government’s climate change advisory body said yesterday. Lord Deben told The Times: “It just isn’t true that fracking is going to destroy the environment and the world is going to come to an end if you frack.”
Payday lender adverts escape curbs
Broadcasting authorities are resisting imposing tougher limits on advertisements for payday lenders. Critics of the controversial lenders called for restrictions yesterday after research by the media regulator Ofcom revealed that the number of TV ads for their services jumped from 17,000 to almost 400,000 in three years.
The Daily Telegraph
US taper risks fresh crisis
Scaling back the Federal Reserve’s massive bond-buying programme risks throwing the global economy into disarray next year, Deutsche Bank has warned, with lenders unable to cope with higher borrowing costs, despite stronger economic growth.
Archbishop summons Big Six bosses
The Archbishop of Canterbury has summoned the bosses of the big six energy companies to a private meeting today to discuss fuel poverty and rising energy prices.The meeting comes after the Most Rev Justin Welby said he understood why people felt above-inflation price rises were “inexplicable”.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Patch co-founder leaving AOL
Jon Brod, a veteran AOL executive who co-founded the company’s Patch network of local news sites, is expected to leave AOL early next year to join a startup, according to a person familiar with the matter. Brod has long been close to AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong.
EU could miss bank secrecy deadline
The European Union risks missing a year-end deadline to adopt new rules aimed at curtailing bank secrecy and tax evasion after Luxembourg and Austria refused to fully sign on to them yesterday. The bloc had pledged to adopt new rules in 2013 that would broaden the sharing of information on financial accounts.