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Wednesday Papers: Disney nears $60bn deal to take over Fox assets

And gas shortage is set to push up bills after 'perfect storm' of energy problems.

Wednesday Papers: Disney nears $60bn deal to take over Fox assets

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Walt Disney is closing in on the entertainment assets of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in an all-share deal that stands to reshape Hollywood and the rapidly digitising global media industry.
  • The Times: Wholesale gas prices in Britain rose to their highest level since 2013 yesterday as a “perfect storm” of cold weather, the closure of the Forties pipeline in the North Sea and an explosion at a gas plant in Austria hit European markets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: British shoppers have been splurging on food and alcohol in the run up to Christmas, despite grocery inflation standing at 3.6% – the highest level since 2013.
  • Financial Times: The London Stock Exchange Group’s largest shareholder has indicated it would back the board in its efforts to stop an activist shareholder ejecting chairman Donald Brydon, in a potentially decisive turn to resolve a governance crisis.
  • Financial Times: Westfield, the developer behind popular shopping centres in London and New York, has agreed to be acquired by France’s Unibail-Rodamco in a $24.7 billion deal that will create the world’s second-biggest mall owner by market value.
  • Financial Times: Sales of Nintendo’s Switch console have hit 10m units, the Japanese video games maker said on Tuesday, marking a stunning comeback year for the company behind the Super Mario and Zelda characters.

Business and economics

  • The Daily Telegraph: Canada’s government has launched a fresh attack in the row over the US imposing import tariffs on airliners built by Bombardier, a move which threatened UK jobs.
  • The Times: Ethereum gave its bigger rival bitcoin a run for its money yesterday as the second most popular cryptocurrency rose by 31.5% in value to set a record of $623.07.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Balfour Beatty has made further steps in its recovery, issuing a trading statement assuring investors that this year is going to plan.
  • Daily Mail: FTSE 100 equipment rental company Ashtead has reported a 19% boost in revenue during the first-half in trading.
  • The Times: Surging technology stocks helped to drive a big return for Britain’s biggest charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust to deliver a total return of 16.9% for the year to the end of September, or £3.5 billion on a portfolio valued at £23.2 billion.
  • Daily Mail: Profits at Carpetright have been floored as the company admitted it is struggling to compete with a rival retailer set up by its founder's son.
  • Financial Times: ExxonMobil will start publishing reports on the possible impact of climate policies on its business, bowing to investor demands for improved disclosure of the risks it faces.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Mining giant Glencore is looking to become a key player in the electric vehicle revolution by doubling its production of cobalt, a metal used in car batteries.
  • Financial Times: Russia’s Novatek will spend as much as Rbs2.8 trillion ($47.6 billion) by 2030 on liquid natural gas projects in the Arctic as it aims to become a big supplier of super-cooled gas from the country’s extreme north.
  • The Times: Attempts by Indivior to wean itself from its reliance on opioid addiction treatments were boosted after US regulators accepted its application for a new schizophrenia drug.
  • The Daily Telegraph: York has become the third UK city to refuse Uber a licence to operate, citing concerns about the ride-hailing company's 2016 data breach, which affected 2.7 million British users and drivers, and customer complaints.
  • Financial Times: HNA Group is facing a lawsuit in the US over a failed acquisition, with its takeover target alleging the Chinese conglomerate intentionally gave false information to US authorities and disguised its true ownership structure.
  • The Guardian: Pilots working for Ryanair in Ireland have called a one-day strike next week, potentially disrupting flights for Europe’s biggest airline on its home territory.
  • The Guardian: More than 400 more people have lost their jobs at the groceries wholesaler Palmer & Harvey less than a fortnight before Christmas as administrators’ attempts to sell part of the business failed.
  • The Guardian: The European commission has announced funding of €9 billion (£8 billion) for action on climate change, one of a flurry of measures from governments, businesses and investors aimed at achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.
  • The Guardian: The World Bank will end its financial support for oil and gas exploration within the next two years in response to the growing threat posed by climate change.
  • Financial Times: Two months after Donald Trump offloaded to Congress a decision on whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, lawmakers are set to hand the contentious issue back to the president after missing a deadline to deal with it.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): SELL Ashtead; HOLD Serica Energy.
  • Financial Times: Brussels has approved EasyJet’s acquisition of parts of Air Berlin; in October the low-cost airline agreed to buy the insolvent airline’s passenger transport operations at Berlin Tegel airport, including landing slots.
  • Daily Mail: One of Cineworld's biggest shareholders, Royal London Asset Management, which has a 4% stake in Cineworld, has criticised the multiplex's planned £2.7 billion takeover of US rival Regal.
  • Financial Times (Comment): US corporation tax plans raise European hackles.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Our low interest rate world is drawing to a close – and good riddance to that era too.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Westfield sale was the right deal and right time for Lowy.
  • The Times (Comment): Mark Carney must follow Janet Yellen’s lead in normalising monetary policy.

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