Buyout firms seek £10bn EE bid
Buyout firms have accelerated talks with lenders to secure funding for possible £10bn bids for EE, the UK’s largest mobile phone operator, in what would be the biggest private equity-backed acquisition in Europe since the financial crisis. The efforts have picked up in intensity in the past week amid buoyant credit markets and in the wake of mega deals such as the $24bn buyout of Dell, raising hopes a debt package of up to £7bn could be raised to fund such an acquisition, people with knowledge of the talks said.
Cantor in talks over Seymour Pierce
Cantor Fitzgerald is in late-stage talks to buy lossmaking Seymour Pierce, in a deal that would secure the future of one of the City’s oldest stockbrokers. Talks on a deal were continuing late into last night.
Commodity hedge funds lose assets
Commodities hedge funds surrendered at least 20 per cent of their assets last year after investors pulled out large sums following the sector’s worst annual performance in more than a decade. The average commodity hedge fund lost 3.7 per cent in 2012.
Hundreds lose jobs at IT firm 2e2
Administrators overseeing the sale of 2e2, the failed IT services company, yesterday dismissed 627 staff after failing to find a purchaser for the firm. Administrators are now seeking a deal with O2, the mobile network, that could save about 100 jobs.
M&S starts selling online in China
Marks & Spencer is selling online in China for the first time after signing a deal with Taobao, the world’s second-largest e-commerce website.
The Daily Telegraph
Coalition scraps plan to end GCSEs
The government’s plan to scrap GCSEs and replace them with a new baccalaureate qualification has been shelved because of significant opposition from the Lib Dems. GCSEs will instead be reformed.
BT launches phone to block cold calls
BT has started producing a landline phone which should block up to 80 per cent of unwanted calls. Users will be able to block all calls from international or withheld numbers, as well 10 extra numbers.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Pinterest seeks $2.5bn valuation
Online scrapbooking site Pinterest is in talks to raise a new round of financing at a $2bn to $2.5bn valuation. Global user visits to its website hit 48m in December, up from 9m a year earlier
Open source smartphones in October
Smartphones running the open source Ubuntu operating system will be available to customers beginning in October 2013. British firm Canonical has made a version of the Linux-based software for mobiles.