WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

LOBBYISTS’ REGISTER UNVEILED
Proposals to force all lobbyists to join a compulsory register will be set out on Friday as the government moves to toughen the regime for the industry.

Launching a consultation on the sector’s governance, ministers will also take views on opening up the register to include other groups that seek influence in Whitehall, such as unions, law firms and consultants.

LADBROKES BUYS STAKE IN AMERICAN GAMBLING GROUP
Ladbrokes has bought a Las Vegas-based gambling company in anticipation of the US moving towards allowing a regulated sports betting market. The betting operator paid $3m for a 65 per cent stake in Stadium Technology Group, which specialises in sports betting technology. Sports betting is illegal in all but four US states.

CARREFOUR TRIMS HYPERMARKET EXTENSION PLAN
Carrefour is to scale back the deployment of its flagship new-style hypermarkets, citing “challenging” pressures on household spending. The group also said that 2011 profits would be at the bottom of its forecast range. Carrefour reported fourth-quarter sales only slighter weaker than expectations.

BARBICAN LAUNCHES FRESH TAKEOVER BID FOR OMEGA
The backers of Barbican Insurance have launched a fresh indicative takeover bid for rival Omega Insurance, calling on it to begin talks to create a “merger of equals” between the two Lloyd’s underwriters. In a letter dated Thursday to Omega’s directors, obtained by the Financial Times, Carlson Capital – the Texan hedge fund behind Barbican – sought to ratchet up the pressure on the target’s board. Omega declined to comment.

THE TIMES

BONUS FREEZE HITS HOUSING MARKET
The failure of banks to hand out their usual bumper bonuses has contributed to a sharp drop in confidence in the housing market. Research out today from Markit and Knight Frank, the estate agent, suggests that people working in the business and financial services sectors are gloomier than others about the prospect of house price increases.

MP WARNS KRAFT OVER TREATMENT OF CADBURY WORKERS
The Labour chairman of the Business Select Committee has pledged to keep a close watch on the way Kraft treats its Cadbury workers at the Bournville factory in Birmingham after staff complained that the American food giant was breaking its promises. Adrian Bailey said that he would be in regular contact with union representatives.

The Daily Telegraph

APPLE TAKES AIM AT THE WORLD'S CLASSROOMS WITH IPAD
It has revolutionised the worlds of computing and music - now Apple is after the staid old world of school text books. The US technology giant has taken aim at the world’s classrooms with a new product designed to encourage schools to load up on iPads. Known as iBooks2, the free app is designed to make school textbooks easier to search and more interactive for students.

JEFFERIES FAVOURITE TO BUY HOARE GOVETT FROM RBS
US investment bank Jefferies has emerged as the most likely buyer of corporate broker Hoare Govett from Royal Bank of Scotland as the state-backed lender looks to shrink its investment banking business. Jefferies is understood to have made an offer for Hoare Govett.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

CHASTENED TEXAN HEADS HOME
Returning to Texas after a lackluster campaign for president, Governor Rick Perry faces a diminished role on the national stage as well as trouble at home from unhappy voters and Republican upstarts eyeing his once unassailable hold on power. His campaign was marred by numerous gaffes most memorably in a live debate.

GAS PRICES COULD RISE WITH HIGHER EXPORTS
Increased exports of U.S. natural gas could drive up domestic gas prices as much as 54 per cent in 2018, federal officials said yesterday, in a projection that could complicate efforts by more than a half-dozen companies hoping to spend billions of dollars on new export terminals. “Higher levels of exports would certainly impact the manufacturing recovery,” said George Biltz of Dow Chemical.