Press Round-up – January 20

January 20, 2012

China set to buy stake in Thames Water
A Chinese sovereign wealth fund is poised to buy a stake in the water network that serves London, in what would be the fund’s first acquisition in the UK following investment talks with British politicians. (FT)

Italy’s banks tap into ECB fund
Italy’s banks, led by UniCredit, were the biggest users of the special three-year funding mechanism launched by the European Central Bank in December, according to a new research report. (FT)

Warren Buffett buys shares in Tesco
U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett has given Tesco a 500 million pound vote of confidence by buying millions of shares in the aftermath of last week’s shock profits warning. (Times)

BofA Record $2 billion profit in Q4
Bank of America has pledged to accelerate the pace of building capital buffers to absorb future shocks as its fourth-quarter results helped drive its battered share price to the best level since October. (FT)

IMF warns of threat posed by austerity drives
The leaders of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation on Friday issued a warning about the economic and social risks of austerity programmes in a “call to action” designed to boost growth and fight protectionism. (Guardian)

Google takes a $20 billion hammering
Investors wiped nearly $20 billion off Google’s <GOOG.O> market value on Thursday after the search giant reported a dramatic slowdown in profits growth in the final quarter. (Times)

Ladbrokes buys stake in U.S. gambling group
Ladbrokes has bought a Las Vegas-based gambling company in anticipation of the U.S. moving towards allowing a regulated sports betting market.  (FT)

BP may add to Gulf of Mexico spill bill
BP is likely to settle with the U.S. government over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in a move that would add up to $13 billion to the company’s total bill for the disaster, a leading analyst said on Thursday.

BoE governor warned of risk posed by UK fossil fuels
The huge reserves of coal, oil and gas held by companies listed in the UK are “sub-prime” assets posing a systemic risk to economic stability, a high-profile coalition of investors, politicians and scientists has warned Bank of England’s governor, Sir Mervyn King. (Guardian)

Syria paves way for currency devaluation
Syria plans to introduce a managed float of its exchange rate next week, Adib Mayaleh, the central bank governor, told the Financial Times on Thursday, effectively devaluing its currency. (FT)
Japanese minister urges use of strong yen
Japanese companies should take greater advantage of the strong yen to increase overseas investments and buy natural resources, according to economy minister Yukio Edano. (FT)

U.S. investors reject Porsche settlement offer
A group of U.S. investment funds seeking more than $2 billion in damages from Porsche has revealed for the first time that it received and rejected a settlement offer from the maker of the 911 sports car. (FT)

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. (FT)

Morgan Stalney pays staff 10 billion pounds
Morgan Stanley <MS.N> has used more than half of its 2011 revenue to pay its staff, providing another illustration that pay in London’s financial district is not always linked to performance. (Guardian)

Novelist threatens Apple with US lawsuit
The author of the novel behind Flowers of War, a Chinese box office hit film starring Christian Bale, is threatening to take legal action against Apple in a Californian court over alleged online piracy. (FT)

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