WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES
BRANSON WANTS 600 BRANCHES OF LLOYDS
Sir Richard Branson has set his sights on buying a network of branches from Lloyds Banking Group as he attempts to go head-to-head with some of the biggest banks on the UK high street. Sir Richard met António Horta-Osório, Lloyds chief executive, on Tuesday and plans to make a formal bid in July for the 600 branches the bank has to sell. “This can happen quickly and smoothly,” he said. “We are a serious bidder and can give the government what it wants through competition.”
REVIEW TERMS OF RBS CASE UNVEILED
The terms of a planned independent review of the Financial Services Authority’s handling of Royal Bank of Scotland were announced by the Treasury select committee on Wednesday. Sir David Walker and Bill Knight, both respected City figures, will assess whether the FSA’s report on the bank “is a fair and balanced summary” of both its own failures and of the evidence it gathered during an enforcement probe.
LIBYA SOVEREIGN FUND SUFFERS BIG LOSSES
Libya lost billions of dollars on sophisticated financial products sold to Muammer Gaddafi’s sovereign wealth fund by some of the world’s leading financial institutions, according to a confidential Libyan government document.
HIGH COFFEE COSTS HIT STARBUCKS PRICES
Starbucks, the US coffee chain, said on Wednesday that it would raise prices of its packaged coffee by 17 per cent this summer in an effort to “sustain the business” in the face of soaring costs. The price rise follows a similar move by JM Smucker.
THE TIMES
PREMIER IS FIRST TO SMASH THE GLASS CEILING
Premier Farnell has become the first leading British company to be led by women as chairman and chief executive. The FTSE 250 company with a £1bn turnover has appointed Val Gooding, the former boss of Bupa, as its chairman. She joins Harriet Green, Premier’s chief executive, who has been credited with turning the electronics parts company around.
THIRD BIDDER TRIES TO WIN OVER MINERVA
A joint venture between Jamie Ritblat’s Delancey and America’s Area Property Partners has emerged as the front-runner to buy the struggling property developer Minerva. The Times understands that the joint venture has made an offer of 115p a share. If accepted, it would see off competition from Apollo Global Management.
The Daily Telegraph
PARATROOPERS HIT BY PAY CUT ON RETURN FROM AFGHANISTAN WAR
Thousands of paratroopers who have just returned from Afghanistan face a pay cut of as much as 10 per cent as the Ministry of Defence attempts to save more money. Army chiefs have decided to end a supplement paid to each member of the regiment for parachuting. It is worth more than £2,000 a year.
AMAZON TO CREATE 900 SCOTLAND JOBS
Amazon, the internet retailer, will create 900 jobs in Edinburgh as it seeks new technical support staff following strong take-up of its Kindle reading device. US-based Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, said the Scottish operation will also handle customer enquiries as it expands its product range. It will create 500 permanent and 400 temporary jobs.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
NEW RESIDENCE FOR FORMER IMF CHIEF APPROVED
A New York judge has approved a new residence where former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be confined under house arrest: a 6,800-square-foot townhouse at 153 Franklin Street, near the courthouse in Lower Manhattan, according to a law-enforcement official.
DEUTSCHE'S SHAREHOLDERS FOCUS ON CEO SUCCESSION
Deutsche Bank’s failure to identify a successor to chief Josef Ackermann is raising investors’ ire and fuelling concern that a drawn-out, behind-the-scenes battle over the top job will leave the giant German bank without a strong replacement. Ackermann’s contract doesn’t expire for two years, but running the bank is considered an especially difficult position.