What the other papers say this morning - 23 May 2014


Corrupt companies face higher fines
British companies that bribe foreign officials to win contracts, commit fraud, or launder money, face fines of up to 400 per cent of their illicit profits, under new penalty guidelines. In the most serious cases companies will pay fines comparable with those meted out in the US, where penalties can be as high as hundreds of millions of dollars, legal experts said. The proposals for England and Wales will be set out by the Sentencing Council today.

GE gives more time on Alstom bid
General Electric has extended a deadline for its $16.9bn bid for the energy business of Alstom of France, giving it more time for talks with French ministers that it hopes will secure support for the deal. The US manufacturing and finance group is offering concessions on issues such as access to technology, French ownership of part of the business, and employment, intended to ease concerns about ceding the majority of one of France’s flagship companies to a foreign buyer.

Credit Suisse sells $5bn in bonds
Credit Suisse has sold $5bn worth of bonds in its first significant senior debt sale in more than three years and only days after pleading guilty to charges that it helped US citizens evade tax.

The sale was closely watched as a gauge of the debt market’s reaction to the guilty plea, but yield-hungry investors bought the new bonds.


Stolen eBay data is up for sale
Personal data stolen from eBay users might already be for sale, security experts have warned, after the site was hit by one of the biggest cyber attacks in history. Digital Shadows, a cybersecurity firm, said it had spotted eBay user data offered for sale for the equivalent of £450.

M&B to pay first dividend in six years
Mitchells & Butlers said it would be reviewing the possibility of resuming dividend payments after a gap of six years following completion of a crucial pensions valuation. The firm said that it had agreed with the trustees that it would up its annual payments from £40m to £45m.

The Daily Telegraph

International director to leave M&S
Marks & Spencer is facing another setback in its attempts to get its financial performance back on track with the head of the retailer’s international business likely to depart. Jan Heere, who was hired from Inditex, the owner of Zara, in 2011, is understood to be returning to a role in Russia, although he is yet to resign from his role at M&S.

Scotland to print UK’s first plastic note
The first plastic banknotes in Britain will enter circulation next year when Clydesdale Bank will introduce 2m plastic £5 notes. The limited edition polymer notes will launch ahead of the Bank of England’s plans to introduce plastic notes in 2016.


Uber targets $12bn valuation
Uber is hailing a group of fund managers for a large investment that could value the startup at north of $12bn, according to people familiar with the matter. The five-year-old company, whose mobile app connects people with drivers for hire, is talking this week to several firms to raise near or above $500m in funding, these people said. Possible investors include mutual fund BlackRock private-equity firms General Atlantic and Technology Crossover Ventures, and hedge funds, the people said. Uber is already one of the world's most valuable venture-backed startups. But a valuation of more than $12bn would put it in an elite club.