<strong>FINANCIAL TIMES<br /><br />LOVELLS IN MERGER TALKS TO CREATE LEGAL FIRM<br /></strong>Lovells, the City law firm, was in talks on last night over a merger with Washington-based Hogan &amp; Hartson aimed at creating a rare successful big transatlantic legal tie-up, said people familiar with the matter. The proposed deal would create a law firm with a strong litigation focus and a size just below the big four British &ldquo;Magic Circle&rdquo; international firms.<br /><br /><strong>GLOBE PUB GROUP ON BRINK OF ADMINISTRATION</strong><br />Globe Pub Company, the ailing pub operator owned by property entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz, was on the brink of being put into administrative receivership last night. The Bank of New York Mellon, which became the trustee to Globe&rsquo;s bondholders after the pub group defaulted on a &pound;257m asset-backed loan in April, has lined up Zolfo Cooper as receivers to the business.<br /><br /><strong>MGPA POISED FOR &pound;90M LAND DEAL</strong><br />MGPA, the Macquarie-backed private equity group, is set to buy a &pound;90m ($148m) residential land company owned by Clerical Medical. MGPA is in final talks to buy Land Improvement Holdings, a 156-year company that owns swathes of development land in the UK. MGPA has been given exclusivity on the deal ahead of a bid from Carlyle, a rival private equity group.<br /><br /><strong>CONOCO DETAILS PLANS TO SELL ASSETS</strong><br />ConocoPhillips, the third largest US oil company, outlined plans to sell $10bn worth of assets over the next two years yesterday, including its 9 per cent stake in the Syncrude oil sands project in Canada. Jim Mulva, chief executive, said Conoco also would sell the bottom-performing 10 per cent of its exploration and production assets in Canada.<br /><br /><strong>THE TIMES<br /><br />DARLING ACCUSED OF DOUBLE-CROSS OVER COLLAPSE OF LEHMAN BROTHERS</strong><br />Alistair Darling has been accused by Henry Paulson, the former US Treasury Secretary, of double-crossing America when he effectively vetoed the acquisition of Lehman Brothers by Barclays Bank in September last year. <br /><br /><strong>SLAUGHTER MAY LOSE ITS LEGAL STRANGLEHOLD ON BANKING</strong><br />Slaughter and May could lose its crown as the Government&rsquo;s preferred legal adviser on the banking crisis. In the biggest legal shake-up since the bank bailouts started two years ago, the Treasury is asking other firms to tender for the business. The City law firm has been deeply involved in the bailouts since Northern Rock collapsed in 2007. It has received almost &pound;25m for its advice.<br /><br /><br /><strong>The Daily Telegraph<br /><br />TRIO BUY SELLAFIELD SITE TO BUILD GIANT NUCLEAR PLANT</strong><br />SSE, Iberdrola and GDF Suez buy the right to develop a new nuclear plant in Cumbria for &pound;70m. A consortium of utility companies is planning to build a giant nuclear power station at Sellafield, the former home of the world&rsquo;s oldest reactor, as part of Britain&rsquo;s next generation of cleaner energy sources.<br /><br /><strong>TESCO BANK TO CREATE 1,000 JOBS IN NEWCASTLE</strong><br />Tesco, the supermarket group and a mooted bidder for the &ldquo;good&rdquo; part of Northern Rock, announced that its financial services arm will create 1,000 jobs in Newcastle, the home town of the nationalised bank. The announcement came on the morning that the European Union approved plans for Northern Rock to be split into two.<br /><br /><strong>WALL STREET JOURNAL<br /><br />P&amp;G CONSIDERS BOOTING SOME BRANDS<br /></strong>Facing mounting pressure to boost sliding sales and recalibrate his company, P&amp;G chief executive Robert McDonald is stepping up the hunt for acquisition and divestiture candidates, people close to the company said. Since assuming the chief executive role in July,&nbsp; McDonald has been trying to shake-up P&amp;G&rsquo;s slow, process-heavy culture.<br /><br /><strong>BOCOM ANNOUNCES VENTURE WITH HSBC, GAIN IN EARNINGS</strong><br />Bank of Communications reported a 1.5 per cent rise in third-quarter net profit yesterday on a slight improvement in interest margins, adding it plans to set up a joint venture with HSBC to offer credit cards in China. The deal will help the HSBC tap a promising credit-card market in China.