WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

BLACKSTONE QUITS LIVERPOOL TALKS
The credit unit of Blackstone, which had been mooted as a possible leader of a £280m ($436m) refinancing of Liverpool Football Club, has pulled out of talks with its owners in a potential setback in their attempt to keep control of the company. People close to the situation said the unit of the US private equity company, called GSO Capital Partners, had considered the transaction but had decided against proceeding last week.

HAIKE PUSHED INTO THE RED
Shares in Haike Chemical fell almost 57 per cent after the Chinese petrochemicals company dropped $21m (£13.5m) into the red in the first half. Haike, which has lost three of its five non-executive directors this year, signalled the losses in June when it reported a pre-tax loss of $1.8m on revenues of $591.3m for 2009.

L’ORÉAL ENDS CONTRACTS TO BETTENCOURT’S FRIEND
L’Oréal has abruptly ended consultancy contracts it had awarded to the controversial photographer friend of lawyered by David HooperLiliane Bettencourt, the 87-year-old daughter of the cosmetics group founder and its biggest shareholder. The Paris-based company terminated Francois-Marie Banier’s consultancy contracts, including a 10-year €4m ($5.2m) artistic contract, because media attention “was such that their continuation would have been damaging for L’Oréal,”

SAHARA IN TALKS TO RESCUE MGM
Sahara India Pariwar, an Indian media-to-sports conglomerate controlled by billionaire industrialist Subrata Roy, is in talks to rescue Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the debt-ridden Hollywood studio, in a move that would deepen ties between Bollywood and Hollywood.

THE TIMES

TRAVELZEST FEUD LAID BARE
Brotherly love is in short supply at Travelzest, the AIM-listed holiday group, which faces legal claims totalling about £5m. The company, best known for its ownership of Peng Travel, Britain’s biggest naturist tour operator, is being sued for wrongful dismissal by Edward and Shane Carroll — respectively father and brother of its chief executive Jonathan Carroll.

SPAIN LOOKS FOR SUPPORT FROM WALL STREET
The Spanish Prime Minister will meet key Wall Street investors today in an effort to convince them that his Government’s austerity reforms are enough to drag Spain out of recession. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will attempt to explain how the socialist government is aiming to reduce the country’s deficit.


The Daily Telegraph

PHARMA GIANTS TO WORK TOGETHER
The UK’s pharmaceutical giants are gradually shedding their secretive mindset and sharing experimental compounds with other organisations in a bid to develop more effective medicines, according to one of AstraZeneca’s most senior scientists. A chief scientist at Astra will say collaborating with other companies could help deliver cost-effective medicines.

FACEBOOK DENIES SMARTPHONE PLAN
Facebook has denied several reports that it is developing a smartphone, in a move which would up the competition between itself and major rivals, Google and Apple. Reports yesterday alleged that Facebook is developing smartphone software. Yesterday TechCrunch, a technology site, ran a saying the company was developing mobile phone software.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

PROXY FIRM SIDES WITH BURKLE
In a potential blow to Barnes & Noble, the US’s largest proxy advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, is backing billionaire investor Ronald Burkle’s slate for the book retailer’s board. “Based on deteriorating operating performance, poor shareholder return, less-than-enthusiastic analyst recommendations, inadequate transparency, we believe the dissidents have demonstrated a compelling case that change is warranted,” it said.

EUROPEAN STABILITY FUND GETS TRIPLE-A RATINGS
The European Financial Stability Facility — the vehicle that will issue guaranteed debt to raise money for euro-zone member countries that can't borrow in the markets — has received the key triple-A credit ratings that should give it access to low-cost funding.