Friday Newspaper round up.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Abu Dhabi’s state media group are in talks to acquire the Financial Times Group for about $1.2 billion, according to a report. The move would see Murdoch add the respected Financial Times name as well as 50% of the Economist magazine to his vast empire, which already includes the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones. The Edge Review, a regional political and business digital magazine based in Malaysia, said the talks had been progressing for more than a month with the owners — London-based publishing and education giant Pearson. Citing financial executives familiar with the negotiations it said a decision could be finalised as early as next week. As well as the FT and Economist the deal also includes several high-end financial information services. AFP Reported

The Church of England has backed consortium of financiers who are trying to win a bid for 315 Royal Bank of Scotland branches with millions of pounds, The Telegraph writes.

Ted Baker’s Chief Executive and founder, Ray Kelvin, is selling a £20m stake of the company. He placed 1.2m shares at £17, representing about 3.0% of the company, according to The Times.

Reuters – Gold fell below $1,200 on Friday to its lowest since August 2010 before recovering, and is on track to post its worst quarter since at least 1968 on persistent worries over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plan to wind down its monetary stimulus. Bullion has taken a beating since the beginning of last week – losing as much as 15%, or about $200 an ounce – after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke laid out a strategy to roll back the bank’s $85 billion monthly bond purchases in the face of a recovering economy. The lower prices have failed to boost physical demand in Asia, traditionally the biggest buyer of gold, and investors have continued to flee exchange-traded gold funds.

Jon Corzine, former Chief Executive of MF Global, and Edith O’Brien, its former assistant treasurer, have been charged in connection with the misuse of nearly $1.0bn of customer funds before the brokerage’s 2011 collapse, the Financial Times.

New data from the Office for National Statistics has revealed the crash under Labour during 2008 and 2009 was even worse than previously reported – with gross domestic product falling 7.2%, The Guardian.

The rise of social networks and blogs has produced an undisciplined online media world that may do more harm to society than good, said Sean Parker, the first President of Facebook and co-founder of Napster, according to the Financial Times.

Reuters – Investor confidence was growing that China’s credit conditions were improving as cash rates extended their fall after last week’s credit crunch, and stocks rose by the most in two months on brisk buying of property and financial shares on Friday. The central bank, which had let short-term borrowing costs spike to record highs to drive home a message to banks that they could no longer count on cheap cash to fund riskier operations, said it would ensure policy supported a slowing economy.

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