WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

ASAHI IN $1.3BN ALCOHOL DEAL
Asahi is poised to agree the NZ$1.5bn (£800m) acquisition of Independent Liquor, the Australasian drinks group, in a deal that would represent the acquisitive Japanese brewer’s largest takeover to date. Barring a last minute hitch, Asahi will strike a deal for the Auckland-based group today, according to a person close to the situation.

GRASSLEY QUIZZES SEC ON FILE PURGING
A whistleblower at the Securities and Exchange Commission has accused the agency of destroying more than 9,000 files related to preliminary investigations into SAC Capital, Bernard Madoff, Goldman Sachs and other financial groups, according to Charles Grassley, senior Republican on the Senate judiciary committee. Grassley wrote to Mary Schapiro, SEC chairman yesterday.

DISNEY SELLS 30-YEAR BONDS
Walt Disney on Wednesday sold its first 30-year bonds in nearly a decade, paying historically low rates in a sign that top US companies can get cheap funding in spite of the recent turmoil in the global financial markets. The amount of additional yield that investment-grade companies have to pay versus US Treasuries, known as the spread, on their bonds has risen in recent weeks.

ELISABETH MURDOCH’S SHINE MILLIONS
Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch, received $214m from his group’s purchase of Shine, her television company. Though it was known that Murdoch had benefited handsomely from the sale, the exact figure was not revealed until News Corp filed its 10-K annual report on Monday. News Corp bought Shine, which produces shows including The Tudors and MasterChef, for $673m in February.

THE TIMES

A-LEVEL RESULTS START £3BN SCRAMBLE
A scramble for university places will begin today as hundreds of thousands of teenagers receive their A-level results. With a record number applying to university, candidates who miss offers by even one grade will face the toughest competition ever seen to find an alternative place through the clearing system.

LAWYERS HIT OUT AT POLITICIANS
The Prime Minister defended courts yesterday for handing out long sentences for people involved in rioting, as the coalition split over the penalties imposed. Senior Liberal Democrats criticised ministers for attempting to influence the courts by calling for harsh sentences. Lawyers also warned that the Prime Minister’s praise for tough sentences risked giving the public the impression that judges were no longer independent.

The Daily Telegraph

POLICE ASKED TO PROBE HUHNE AGAIN
Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, was under pressure today after prosecutors asked police to continue their investigation into claims his ex-wife took speeding points on his behalf. The CPS has requested further evidence from Essex police as it examines allegations that Mr Huhne asked his estranged wife, to accept his points so he could keep his licence.

ROYAL WEDDING BOOSTS HELLO!
The royal wedding and excitement about the new Duchess of Cambridge helped to lift newsstand sales of Hello! magazine by more than a quarter in the first six months of the year. The weekly publication, known for its glamourous photoshoots of Royals and socialites, said it sold more than 1.1m copies of its royal wedding issue and that sales have remained higher than before ever since.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

FDA BACKS ROCHE DRUG
A new skin-cancer treatment that promises to shrink tumors and prolong the lives of patients with a particular genetic mutation won speedy approval that signals US regulators’ enthusiasm for such targeted therapies. Vemurafenib, from Roche Holding AG and Daiichi Sankyo, belongs to an emerging class of treatments that targets the molecular underpinnings of the cancer.

ABERCROMBIE EARNINGS UP 64PC BUT SEES FALLING MARGINS AHEAD
Abercrombie & Fitch, which posted a 64 per cent jump in fiscal second-quarter earnings as sales soared, is starting to feel the pinch of rising costs, and, like other retailers, warned worries about the economy are back on the rise. Abercrombie's shares were down more than four per cent on the firm’s outlook.