Thursday Newspaper round up

Pleas from Spain and Italy for urgent financial aid from the Eurozone to bring down borrowing costs were dismissed by Angela Merkel as divisions hardened on the eve of a critical summit. Germany’s Chancellor angrily rejected desperate pleading by Italy and Spain as a Franco-German rift over Eurozone debt sharing threatened to unravel efforts to find a fix for the single currency at a meeting of European leaders on Thursday, writes the Telegraph.

The Chairman and Chief Executive of Barclays were fighting for their jobs last night after an investigation revealed that Britain’s third-biggest bank lied and cheated its trading partners for years. Barclays, renowned in Britain for aggressive Wall Street-style investment banking, was fined a total of £291m by three regulators on both sides of the Atlantic for repeatedly manipulating key prices at the heart of the financial system, according to the Times.

Lloyds Banking Group agreed on Wednesday to press ahead with a sale of 632 branches to the Co-operative Bank after it rejected a rival offer from the private equity start-up NBNK. Lloyds said agreement over the terms of a deal had put the bank in a position to choose the Co-op over NBNK and move towards a sale of the branches on an exclusive basis, the Guardian reports.

Glencore is ready to walk away from its $58bn merger with Xstrata if a group of dissident shareholders led by the Qatari sovereign wealth fund do not drop their demands for a much higher premium. Representatives of Qatar Holdings, Xstrata’s second-largest shareholder with almost 11 per cent, held an emergency meeting with Glencore bankers on Wednesday after Qatar shocked the market on Tuesday night by saying it did not support the merger under its current terms. Qatar stuck to its position that only an offer of 3.25 Glencore shares for each of Xstrata’s – 16% higher than the current offer of 2.8 shares – would win its support, says the Financial Times.

The News Corporation board has unanimously agreed in principle a plan to split its entertainment and publishing assets into two separate companies, according to reports. News Corp’s board voted to approve the plan at a meeting in New York last night after the company revealed it was considering the radical restructure earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported. The decision is yet to be confirmed by the media giant, but a statement on the move – that would see all News Corp newspapers, including The Times, The Sun and The Wall Street Journal, placed in a separate company – is expected to be released later today, writes the Times.

William Hague, the British foreign secretary, wants to launch a comprehensive audit of the impact of European Union law on Britain this summer, an exercise that could fuel a Conservative drive to repatriate powers from Brussels. The huge Whitehall study comes at a time when David Cameron is trying to devise a new relationship between Britain and the rest of Europe, starting on Thursday at a European summit in Brussels, reports the Financial Times.

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