The Business: Thursday July 17 2014

Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday

TIME WARNER REBUFFS MURDOCH TAKEOVER

Time Warner has rejected a takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. A deal to bring the two media giants together would be the crowning achievement of Murdoch’s career as he bids to shake off the legacy of the hacking scandal. However, as the FT reports, the Time Warner board rejected the $85-a-share cash and stock offer because they feared investors would reject it. Analysts believe Murdoch will try again with a new offer.

MPS CENSURE LLOYDS OVER ‘SHAM’ LETTERS

Lloyds has been slammed by MPs for what they are calling the “sham” debt recovery letters it sent to consumers and small companies. Chairman of the Treasury select committee Andrew Tyrie said: “Lloyds failed to convince us . . . that the letters were not calculated to mislead . . . or to provide any satisfactory explanation as to why it issued letters in this form.” The Lloyds chief executive admitted the bank had issued debt collection letters which appeared to come from independent lawyers.

MIKE ASHLEYS WITHDRAWS FROM BONUS SCHEME

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has withdrawn from his firm's controversial bonus scheme, just a fortnight after winning shareholder approval. His decision follows years of wrangling with shareholders as the company made three failed attempts to persuade investors to pay him a large cash bonus. Ashley promised not to try to claim a bonus for at least four years, until the current scheme starts paying out in 2019.

EBAY REPORTS HEALTHY PROFITS RISE

Online auction website eBay reported profits of $676m (£395m) during the period from March to June, beating analyst expectations. Shares in the company rose by more than 1.5% in trading after the US stock market closed. Revenue grew by 13% to $4.4bn – less than hoped. “We had a challenging quarter with several distractions,” said eBay in its earnings presentation, referring to a hacking problem earlier in the quarter.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… TIMES IS SICK (AS A PARROT) OF ASHLEY

“Nice one, Mike. Pulling out of the scheme is nothing to do, then, with his allocation being smaller than he wanted. Or that he might need investor support for a future deal. Can’t someone please pay Mr Ashley a salary or dividend? Or book him for time-wasting?” Alistair Osborne gives it 110% with the sporting metaphors on Mike Ashley’s bonus pullout.

REAL MADRID ‘WORLD’S MOST VALUABLE TEAM’

Real Madrid is the world’s most valuable sports team, according to Forbes. The club is worth an estimated $3.44bn (£2bn). Barcelona come in second place at $3.2bn, with Manchester United third, thanks to a value of $2.81bn. Forbes calculates the value of the teams based on equity, debt and stadium deals. MLB baseball team the New York Yankees came fourth, with NFL American Football team Dallas Cowboys in fifth.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0720 BST


FTSE-100: up +1.11 to 6784.67
Dow Jones: up +0.45 to 17138.20
Dax: up +1.44 to 9859.27
Cac-40: up +1.48 to 4369.06
Nikkei: down -0.10 to 15364.41
Hang Seng: down -0.25 to 23464.40
US dollar: buys €0.73930 and £0.58350
Sterling: buys $1.71390 and €1.2710
Oil: $107.20 up +0.3