Eurozone finance ministers on Wednesday yet again put off a decision to extend up to 44bn euros of long-overdue aid to Greece, after failing to overcome lasting divisions over how fast to cut Athen’s mounting debt pile. After almost 12 hours of intense talks that stretched into the early hours, eurozone governments called a further meeting next week to finally settle differences between themselves and the International Monetary Fund. ‘I don’t know when [the aid disbursements] will happen,’ said Jean-Claude Juncker, the chair of the eurogroup of finance ministers, as he emerged from the meeting. ‘Greece has delivered, now it is up to us,’ he added, in reference to austerity measures implemented by Athens. [Financial Times]
The millionaire founder of former FTSE 100 darling Autonomy was forced to defend his reputation yesterday as the US computing giant Hewlett-Packard wrote off $8.8bn (£5.5bn) on its acquisition of the software firm and accused managers of “serious accounting improprieties”. The technology entrepreneur Mike Lynch, who set up Autonomy in 1996, sold it to HP for $10.3bn in August last year, making about £500m from his stake in the business. Mr Lynch, who left the US company in May, is worth £480m, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
[…] Mr Lynch said he was “shocked” by the claims, saying: “It’s completely and utterly wrong and we reject it completely.” He also said the huge write-down was a “distraction” from the worst results in HP’s 70-year history. HP’s shares slumped 11 per cent as the company tumbled to a $12.7bn full-year loss as a result of the charge. The company “intends to aggressively pursue this matter in the months to come”. [The Independent]
More money printing or lower interest rates would simply stoke inflation without driving growth, a Bank of England policymaker has warned. Martin Weale, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said that Britain’s weak rate of productivity made it difficult to justify any further stimulus. His comments drive another nail into quantitative easing’s (QE) coffin after the Bank voted against extending the £375bn programme this month. [The Telegraph]
Chevron, the US oil group, has filed a complaint calling for an investigation of the comptroller of New York state, alleging that he acted improperly in urging the company to settle a $19bn claim for environmental damage in Ecuador. The company alleges that Thomas DiNapoli, who as comptroller is the administrator of the state’s employees’ pension funds, backed shareholders’ resolutions and made public statements to put pressure on Chevron, as an “apparent quid pro quo exchange” for campaign contributions. [Financial Times]
The first Monday in December is set to be a record day for online shopping in the UK, with transaction volumes on the internet surging by more than a fifth. Consumers are expected to spend £320m on Visa cards on 3 December alone, following the final pay day for many before Christmas on 30 November. Visa Europe forecasts that 6.8 million purchases will be made on “Mega Monday”, 21 per cent higher than last year. [The Independent]
It may not be having much luck in its campaign to have the Health Lottery outlawed, but the setback did not prevent the National Lottery operator from pulling in record half-year revenues. Camelot, which is owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, of Canada, lifted sales by 8.1 per cent to almost £3.53 billion in the six months to September 29, driving a 3.8 per cent increase in the amount contributed to good causes to £952.8 million. It paid out a record £1.86 billion in prize money, a rise of 10 per cent, lifting the total paid to players since the launch of the National Lottery in 1994 to £43 billion. More than 3,000 lottery millionaires have been created. [The Times]