BERLIN PREPARES TO TAKE EADS STAKE
The German government is preparing to take a stake in European aerospace company EADS after no buyers for part of Daimler’s holding came forward. Berlin has been seeking buyers for the 7.5 per cent stake – a third of the holding controlled by the carmaker – since February, but a senior official has now admitted the ongoing search is “hopeless”.
HEALTHCARE LOCUMS IS US TARGET
A US-based suitor has approached beleaguered Healthcare Locums’ main lenders with an 11th-hour offer to begin talks on buying the firm’s debts at up to 97 per cent of face value. Mockingbird Holdings, a US-based shareholder, has written to the medical recruitment specialist’s main lenders, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, with details of the offer.
LLOYDS IN SELL-OFF PEACE OFFER
Lloyds Banking Group is willing to sell up to a third more current accounts than it needs to in a last-ditch peace offering to the Independent Commission on Banking. People close to the situation said the bank has put forward plans to start offering current accounts through its Cheltenham & Gloucester brand, which it is being forced to sell under European rules on state aid, along with 632 branches and a 4.6 per cent share of UK current accounts.
OSBORNE WEIGHS IN ON PLANNING ROW
George Osborne has vowed to defeat the gathering alliance of conservationists and Tory traditionalists in the growing row over planning reform, saying: “No one should underestimate our determination to win this battle.” The chancellor’s intervention is an indication that the coalition is determined to stand its ground, as ministers seek ways to bolster Britain’s faltering economy.
BIG FIRMS FACE AUDITOR PRESSURE
Only six of Britain’s one hundred biggest companies have changed auditors as a result of a competitive tender process in the past decade, according to research that underscores concerns about a lack of competition in the audit market. It comes after the FRC said it would make listed companies put their audits up for tender every ten years to allay fears that accountancy firms have become too cosy with their clients.
TORIES SAY GET TOUGH ON EUROPE
Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Conservative Chancellor, says the time has come for Britain to declare “enough is enough” on Europe and tear up the Lisbon treaty. He argues that a torn up treaty should be replaced with a constitution in which the drive for an ever-closer union is “explicitly abandoned”.
The Daily Telegraph
BLAIR GODFATHER TO MURDOCH DAUGHTER
Tony Blair is godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s young children, it has emerged in an interview with the media tycoon’s wife. The former prime minister was reportedly present in March last year when Murdoch’s two daughters by his third wife, Wendi, were baptised on the banks of the Jordan.
SACKED MSOFT BOSS HAD PROBLEMS
Simon Negus, the man at the centre of the Microsoft debauchery scandal, had a troubled marriage at the time of the allegations that he kissed one of his colleagues, according to court documents. Negus, who was dismissed from the company amid claims that he sexually harassed senior female executives at the computer giant is alleged to have kissed Toni Knowlson at a riotous “Global Exchange” party in Atlanta.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
AMAZON TESTS WEBSITE REDESIGN
Amazon.com is testing a major redesign of its website, an overhaul that could refashion the way people shop on the world's largest online retailer. The changes are expected to make Amazon's site easier to use and to navigate on a tablet computer, said online-commerce experts. Seattle-based Amazon is expected to introduce a tablet computer in coming weeks.
EUROZONE NEEDS MORE REGULATION
JP Morgan Chase International chairman Jacob Frenkel said he expected the euro to survive the debt crisis but warned that the Eurozone needs to strengthen its governance in order to ease market concerns over the bloc’s future. “I expect there will be a euro currency some years from now, although it may not look like the one we have today,” Mr Frenkel, former head of Israel’s central bank, said.