HBOS, the country's biggest lender, was last night desperately defending its fundraising plans after its shares slumped to record lows, putting its £4bn cash call under severe pressure, The Guardian reports.
Shares dived through the 275p level at which the Halifax and Bank of Scotland group is trying to convince its shareholders to support a rights issue it needs to bolster its capital base.
The shares ended the day at 258p, down almost 12%. Other bank shares also touched new lows. Royal Bank of Scotland, which issued a subdued trading statement yesterday, ended at 212.2p, down 9% and barely above the 200p at which its rights issue, which ended last week, was priced. Alliance & Leicester ended 8% lower and Barclays was 4% down.
The Financial Services Authority, which is investigating possible manipulation of share trading in HBOS in March, said it was monitoring the situation. "The FSA is keeping elements of the banking sector under close scrutiny," a spokeswoman said.
INBEV, THE MAKER of Stella Artois, has launched an audacious $46.9bn (£23.9bn) takeover bid for the US’s biggest brewer and Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch, according to The Telegraph.
The $65-a-share unsolicited bid from Inbev, already the industry’s biggest player, looks set to trigger a series of mergers and acquisitions across the global brewing sector.
Anheuser said its board of directors would evaluate the cash takeover proposal “carefully” and in the context of the brewer’s “long-term strategic plan”.
GONE, FOR NOW, are bankers' days of conspicuous excess, those golden lunchtimes of lore when traders at Barclays Capital spent £44,000 on wine alone during a meal at Gordon Ramsay's Petrus restaurant, and bottles of vintage bubbly were sprayed around City bars in the manner of Formula 1 drivers on top of the winners' podium, The Independent reports.
Belts have been tightened a couple of notches. For the banks' low-level foot soldiers, it means an end to priority plane boarding at airports. Many firms have instituted bans on expenses lunches for two costing more than £100.
Yesterday brought new figures showing that the impressive City starting salaries have been caught in the credit crunch. Although still the envy of other professionals, the average take-home pay of new recruits to London's financial sector fell last year.IFAonline
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