Friday newspaper round-up: oil tax, Google, Sports Direct, Hasbro/Mattel

Michele Maatouk Sharecast | 05 Feb, 2016 07:20 | | |


Partners at top London law firms are charging as much as £1,000 an hour — the highest rate ever recorded, according to researchers. Hourly rates for partners at leading commercial law firms have risen in real terms from as much as £598 in 2003 to at least £775 an hour with some lawyers charging £1,000 an hour, a report from the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank found. – Financial Times

The White House is proposing a bold $10 per barrel tax on oil in a move that immediately sparked a backlash from an energy industry buckling under the pressure of low prices. The proposal was contained in a budget plan that the Republican-led Congress will ensure is never enacted, but it is likely to force the Democratic candidates for president to sharpen their positions on energy. – Financial Times

George Osborne’s claim that the government secured a major corporation tax deal with Google appear to be unravelling after it emerged that a quarter of the £130m recovered by HM Revenue & Customs related to the US company’s share options scheme. Filings by Google’s UK subsidiary show that £33m of the funds paid to the Treasury followed a wrangle over share options handed to staff, which the US business had argued were exempt from UK tax. – Guardian

Rangers has moved to end its turbulent commercial relationship with Sports Direct after the football club saw off a legal challenge from the retail chain. In a message to supporters, the Rangers chairman, Dave King, said he had written to Sports Direct formally giving notice to end the joint venture. The statement came a day after the retailer dropped a high court attempt to prevent the disclosure of details behind the tie-up. – Guardian

Hasbro has held talks with Mattel about a merger that would create one of the largest toy makers in the world, according to reports. Hasbro approached its rival at the end of last year, it is claimed, with a view to creating a single company with control over global brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels and My Little Pony. – Telegraph

Oil-producing nations face years of pain as prices remain lower for longer, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned. Christine Lagarde said the Fund stood ready to help struggling countries such as Azerbaijan and Nigeria cope with a renewed drop in oil prices, amid reports that the African nation has sought support from the World Bank. – Telegraph

Financial institutions have begun insuring themselves against the pound collapsing if Britain votes to leave the EU, the Bank of England said yesterday as it warned that growth could suffer in the coming months from uncertainty about the referendum’s outcome. Option markets are pricing in the possibility of “a significant depreciation of sterling against the euro and the dollar over the next year”. –

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