What the other papers say this morning - 31 July 2013

FINANCIAL TIMES

Biotech gives Wall St shot in the arm
Biotechnology firms are raising money at the fastest rate since the dotcom boom, underscoring the renewed appetite for one of Wall Street’s riskiest bets. So far this year 22 companies have raised $1.7bn from initial public offerings, according to Dealogic.

Law firms hire rogue private eyes
Law firms are by far the biggest users of four rogue private investigators, the home affairs select committee has revealed, as politicians press the Serious Organised Crime Agency to publish a secret list of businesses and individuals linked to the sleuths.

Obama offers grand bargain on tax
President Obama yesterday withdrew a demand that corporate tax reform be coupled with higher taxes on the wealthy in an effort to persuade Republicans to support a fresh stimulus to the economy. The White House said it had devised a new “grand bargain” that would establish a top tax rate of 28 per cent for companies and close tax loopholes. In exchange the President wants one-off revenues from its tax simplification plan to be spent on infrastructure.

THE TIMES

Peers urge tougher line on firms’ tax
HM Revenue and Customs may not be assertive enough in negotiations big firms, according to a Lords Committee. Naming and shaming may encourage them to avoid aggressive tax avoidance, the Economic Affairs Select Committee said.

Boris say it is my way or no runway
The Mayor of London said he would support the airport commission only if it recommends building either a new airport on the Isle of Grain in Kent or on “Boris Island” in the Thames Estuary.

The Daily Telegraph

Centrica buys US firm for £500m
British Gas owner Centrica’s North American subsidiary is buying the Energy Marketing unit of Hess, the US oil firm where Centrica’s chief Sam Laidlaw spent 20 years.

UK economy close to escape velocity
Former Bank of England policymakers Sir John Gieve, Dame Deanne Julius and Charles Goodhart yesterday said the economy had reached or is about to reach escape velocity – the level at which a recovery is self-sustaining.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Accenture in talks to buy Booz & Co
Consulting giant Accenture is in talks to acquire smaller rival Booz & Co, people familiar with the matter said. It isn't clear whether there are other potential buyers for Booz, or whether the two companies will reach a deal.

Manning acquitted of aiding enemy
Bradley Manning was yesterday found guilty of 20 charges relating to passing documents to Wikileaks. But the military judge acquitted him of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. He still faces a lengthy prison sentence.