Wednesday Newspaper round up

ARM Holdings is to keep ahead of its rival, Intel, by launching processors that will power a new generation of “superphones”. The 64-bit processors will be adopted by some of the largest semiconductor makers next year before being built into smartphones and tablets that will hit the market in 2014 and 2015. Britain’s largest technology company, which is based in Cambridge, said that the superphones would be three times faster than today’s best smartphones. They will also be up to 50 per cent more power efficient, which should extend batterylife. The group has launched the products in Intel’s backyard in Silicon Valley. The ARM TechCon, an annual “geekfest”, held in Santa Clara, California, opened yesterday with 5,000 delegates having paid to take a first look at the new designs, The Times explains.

Greece’s prime minister has urged the country’s politicians to unite behind new austerity measures in an attempt to secure bail-out money for the country or risk an exit from the euro. Antonis Samaras said Greece would run out of money next month if parliament did not vote through the latest set of cuts and reforms he has agreed with the country’s international creditors. He is hoping to persuade socialist and moderate Leftist allies to help push the measures through parliament by November 12, when Eurozone finance ministers are expected to decide on whether to release the next €31bn (£25bn) tranche of bail-out money. “Today we concluded the negotiation on the measures and the budget. If this deal is approved and the budget is voted, Greece will stay in the euro and exit the crisis,” Mr Samaras said, according to The Telegraph.

Under-pressure shops in Britain face the “retail equivalent of the poll tax” if the Government presses ahead with plans to halt a revaluation of business rates, according to MPs. In a heated debate at Westminster Hall, MPs heavily criticised the Government’s proposals to postpone a revaluation of rates next year and questioned the future of the Valuation Office Agency. The postponement means companies will have to pay rates based on property rents in 2008 – close to the peak of the market – until 2017. Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale who organised the debate, said: “If next year’s business rates revaluation was to go ahead as planned, new rates would come into force in April 2015, a month away from the General Election. “They would undoubtedly show increases in business rates in the south east and a significant decrease, to reflect the readjustment in property values, across the north and elsewhere. “This is not the kind of news the Government want to present to heartland supporters a month away from elections,” The Telegraph says.

Marks & Spencer is to ply its wares in Germany and Austria for the first time as it sets up dedicated local-language websites. The 128-year-old retailer, which pulled out of Europe a decade ago, is also opening websites in Belgium and Spain, the backyard of Inditex, the world’s largest fashion retailer. The company is building an internet platform to replace its Amazon-powered website, which it says has constrained its international ambitions. Laura Wade-Gery, the executive leading M&S’s online operations, said: “We think that it’s a big enough opportunity to go ahead on a separate infrastructure from the main [Amazon] platform. We have been delivering to those markets for a while from our UK site.” M&S, which releases results for the first half next week, expects its appeal to stretch beyond Britons abroad. “There are some expatriates, particularly in Spain — we already send a certain amount to the various Costas — but it’s also locals who may be familiar with us from visiting the UK or may have experienced us in a prior guise,” Ms Wade-Gery said, The Times reports.

Walt Disney has agreed to pay veteran film maker George Lucas $4.05bn (£2.5bn) to acquire the company behind the Star Wars franchise and make a seventh film in the series. Lucasfilm, which is 100% owned by the director, will join Disney’s portfolio of brands from ESPN to Pixar and Marvel. Disney, which will fund the deal with cash and shares, said another Star Wars film would be released in 2015. “Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” Robert Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive said. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity,” The Telegraph says.

Rumours of a trendy mega deal in the multi-billion pound luxury goods sector have been rife for months. As evidence mounts that the Asia-driven luxury engine could be starting to splutter, speculation continues that one of the major European players is about to pounce on an undervalued rival before Christmas. After apparently having a good look at Burberry, 17p better at 1180p, before walking away believing the UK-based group to be seriously overvalued, LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods group run by billionaire Bernard Arnault, is now strongly rumoured to be on the verge of a cosy deal much closer to home, The Daily Mail reports.

Standard & Poor’s has cut Argentina’s credit rating by one notch, four days after a key New York court ruling on Argentine bonds increased pressure on the government’s ability to manage its debts. S&P lowered the country’s rating to B- from B, deep into junk bond territory, and appended a negative outlook on the rating, a warning that another rating cut could come within a year if conditions in the Argentine economy worsen. S&P said the New York appeals court ruling against Buenos Aires on the treatment of some of its debt, along with other recent debt-related actions by the Argentine government, “highlight the increasing challenges the government will likely continue to face to design its economic and debt management policy,” The Telegraph writes.

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