KKR BETS ON CHINA SLOWDOWN WITH HK EXPANSION
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is set to expand into Hong Kong in an early bet by the US private equity group on a slowdown in the Chinese economy. The buy-out group, which is among the largest in the world, is planning to expand into Hong Kong in the next six to nine months with its $2bn special situations unit to profit from investments into faltering companies.
BANKS PAYING OUT GUARANTEED BONUSES DESPITE BAN
Investment banks are exploiting gaps in global pay reforms to persist with some of their most contentious practices, including guaranteeing lucrative bonuses to employees regardless of their performance, industry data show. Guaranteed bonuses to new hires accounted for 8.5 per cent of the average bonus pool for 2010.
NEWS CORP’S US INVESTORS WARNED OF RISKS
US investors are underestimating the risks News Corp faces stemming from the UK phone-hacking scandal, one of the members of parliament probing the affair warned on the eve of the media group’s annual meeting. Tom Watson, a Labour member of the House of Commons media select committee, said he had briefed US shareholders and had been “shocked” that they had not been aware of “the scale of wrongdoing in the UK”.
PENSIONS REGULATOR TO RAISE RISK BARRIER
Struggling companies with underfunded pension schemes are likely to be barred from higher-yielding but riskier investments as they try to make up the shortfall in their schemes, under new rules expected to be unveiled shortly by the Pensions Regulator. The regulator has been concerned that firms expect the Pension Protection Fund to step in.
SAUDI PRINCE IN $300M TWITTER TALKS
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has moved to tap into the growth potential of microblogging after he was linked to an acquisition of a stake in Twitter.
Kingdom Holding, the Saudi billionaire’s investment fund, has held talks with Twitter executives with regard to investing up to $300 million (£190 million) in a minority stake.
MINISTER WANTS TO SEE 30-YEAR MORTGAGES
Homeowners should be offered longer term mortgages spanning as much as 30 years, according to housing minister Grant Shapps, who has called on lenders to launch the deals to encourage market stability. Mr Shapps said he wants to start a national debate on longer-term fixed mortgages as a “normal and sensible choice”.
The Daily Telegraph
WILLIAM HILL HIRES FORMER ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS
William Hill has hired former Israeli intelligence officers to help regain control of one of its subsidiaries after a revolt at its Tel Aviv office saw a staff walkout and alleged computer system sabotage. Ralph Topping, the bookmaker’s chief executive, has flown to Israel in a bid to restore order to a key part of its William Hill Online joint venture.
ITALY TO CRACK DOWN ON WEDDING TAX DODGERS
They are affairs as lavish as Sicily’s famous Baroque architecture, but the island’s extravagant weddings are now coming under the beady eye of the Italian taxman. The average Sicilian couple spends €25,000 (£22,000) on tying the knot. But the catering, cars, photographers and flowers are often paid for in cash.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
AT&T SHOWS SLOWER GROWTH
AT&T Inc. reported slower third-quarter growth among its lucrative contract customers, as consumers held back in anticipation of the newest generation iPhone, now available on the three largest U.S. carriers. AT&T said Thursday it added 319,000 contract customers, down from 331,000 in the second quarter.
SAMSUNG BEATS APPLE IN SMARTPHONE SHIPMENTS
Samsung Electronics shipped more than 20 million smartphones in the quarter ended Sept. 30, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday, beating market leader Apple as well as Nokia. The South Korean company benefited from a push into the high end; demand is robust for phones that consumers can use to watch videos, download movies and send email.