BRUSSELS URGED TO END BIG FOUR DOMINANCE
Four international accountancy networks have taken the unusual step of jointly calling for changes to the audit market in Europe and arguing that regulatory intervention is needed to dilute the power of the profession’s biggest operators. BDO International, RSM International and Grant Thornton International, the world’s fifth, sixth and seventh-biggest networks by fees, according to International Accounting Bulletin, have allied with smaller rival Mazars to lobby the European Commission.
TOURRE TO ARGUE US CANNOT TRY HIM FOR FRAUD
Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs banker facing civil fraud charges over a mortgage-backed security, will next week ask a judge to dismiss the regulator’s lawsuit, arguing that US authorities cannot pursue cases involving foreign investors. The move by Mr Tourre, who branded himself “Fabulous Fab” in e-mails, is being opposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed civil fraud allegations against him and Goldman last April.
BG WARNS OVER DEMAND FOR GAS
The global energy industry faces a “huge supply” challenge to bring online enough new gas to meet demand, according to BG Group’s chief executive. Frank Chapman said the industry would need $2,000bn (£1,240bn) in investment to find and develop gas supplies equal to 20 times the current production of Norway to 2020.
SMARTPHONE SHIPMENTS SURPASS PCS
Manufacturers shipped more smartphones than personal computers in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to research.
IRISH OWNERS JOIN OXFORD STREET SALES
Two prized buildings on London’s Oxford Street have been put up for sale for a combined £250m, as their Irish owners move to cash in on high investor interest. Boots’ flagship store and headquarters – Sedley Place at 361 Oxford Street – and Jubilee House, let to the retailers <a href="http://www.riverisland.com" target="_blank">River Island</a>, Next and New Look, are to be officially brought to the market next week by CB Richard Ellis. A syndicate of Irish investors is thought to be selling the 145-year leasehold interest in Sedley Place for about £80m.
SAINSBURY’S ABANDONS HOPE OF ARRIVAL AT KING’S CROSS
A lack of buyers for its lavish Holborn headquarters in Central London has forced Sainsbury’s to abandon plans to cut costs by relocating to King’s Cross.
The Daily Telegraph
WIKILEAKS: NO 10 URGED COMMANDER TO PLAY DOWN AFGHANISTAN FAILURES
A senior adviser to Gordon Brown put pressure on the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan to play down the “bleak and deteriorating” situation to reduce criticism of his government, leaked documents disclose. Brown, the prime minister at the time, visited the country and met Gen Stanley McChrystal, the US military commander.
DAVID CAMERON MEETS DAVID HASSELHOFF IN PARLIAMENT
David Cameron met an unlikely namesake as former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff took a tour of the Palace of Westminster. The Prime Minister ran into Hasselhoff – and posed briefly for a photo – as the actor walked near the clock tower housing Big Ben.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
CITI UNITS MUST PAY $6.4M OVER MUNI-ARBITRAGE LOSS
Two units of Citigroup have been ordered to pay $6.4m to a group of investors, including the head of a Chicago-area investment-banking firm, for losses they incurred in a family of municipal arbitrage funds. The award by a divided securities arbitration panel represented a partial victory for the investors, who included D. Theodore Berghorst, chairman and chief executive of Vector Securities LLC in Deerfield Ill.
DISNEY PROFIT JUMPS 54 PER CENT, HELPED BY NETWORKS, PARKS
Walt Disney’s fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 54 per cent, led by strong gains at its media networks, while its parks division benefited from higher attendance and spending, and the film division got a boost from DVD sales of “Toy Story 3”.