WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

BOURSES VIE FOR TIE-UP WITH KAZAKH EXCHANGE
The London Stock Exchange and Russia’s two main exchanges are vying to secure a strategic partnership with the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange as the bourse becomes the latest play on the central Asian country’s huge natural resources. The manoeuvring comes as the Kazakh exchange is preparing for the launch of a “people’s IPO” scheme designed to persuade Kazakh citizens to invest in a wave of big privatisations and revive dwindling activity on the exchange.

ICG STARTS DISPOSAL PROCESS FOR CPA
Intermediate Capital Group is looking to sell CPA Global, one the largest patent management groups in the world, barely two years after buying into it. The company is hoping to cash in on the growing market for intellectual property management and disputes.

EURO DEBT CRISIS BITES INTO PRICE OF COCOA
The sovereign debt crisis in Europe has claimed an unexpected casualty – the price of cocoa. Europe is the largest consumer of cocoa, the bean used to manufacture chocolate, and worries about a slowdown in the region’s consumption combined with a bumper crop in west Africa, the main supplier, has pushed prices to their lowest point in three years.

DUBAI EYES REFINANCING OF $10BN OF STATE DEBT
Dubai has for the first time raised the prospect of restructuring some bonds next year as the emirate and its state-related companies face a wall of $10bn in debt repayments. The emirate is also pursuing other options, including raising $2bn in funds from liquid local banks.

THE TIMES

REMEMBER THE ERA OF THE FRIENDLY LOCAL BANK MANAGER?
The managers of more than 600 Lloyds Banking Group branches will be able to choose their opening hours if NBNK, the specialist bank bidding vehicle, succeeds in buying them, its chief executive said yesterday. Gary Hoffman said that branch managers would not have opening hours dictated to them centrally but would be able to choose hours to meet the needs of local customers.

£40M UPGRADE FOR OLYMPIC CERE
The budget for the opening and closing ceremonies at the London Olympics has been doubled to £81m in order to better exploit a “great national moment”, in a tacit admission the shows risked underwhelming the world. The move comes after David Cameron was shown previews of the Games productions.

The Daily Telegraph

OBR CREDIBILITY ON LINE AFTER FOUR DOWNGRADES
The credibility of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) would be threatened if the Government’s fiscal watchdog has to revise its forecast significantly again next year, economists have warned. The credibility of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) would be threatened if the Government’s fiscal watchdog has to revise its forecast significantly again next year, economists have warned.

VODAFONE BOSS SCOLDS OFCOM FOR LUMPING TELCOS TOGETHER
Vodafone’s UK chief executive, Guy Laurence, has warned Ofcom against “lumping together” the big four mobile operators after the regulator accused them of jeopardising economic growth by taking disingenuous legal positions.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

BRONFMAN STEPS DOWN AS WARNER MUSIC CHAIRMAN
Edgar Bronfman Jr. will step down as chairman of Warner Music Group, effective 31 January, he said in a memo to employees, but will remain on the board of the world’s number three recorded-music company. A replacement hasn't been named, but one is expected before the end of January, according to a person familiar with the matter.

CREDIT SUISSE TO SPLIT EMEA PRIVATE BANKING UNIT IN TWO
Credit Suisse’s private banking chief Hans-Ulrich Meister, is pushing ahead with plans to strengthen the Swiss bank’s business of managing the wealth of its richest clients. In the second big strategic step in less than a month, Meister said the bank will split its Europe, Middle East and Africa private banking unit into two.