Friday newspaper round-up: Sky, Philip Morris, Saudi Aramco

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Friday newspaper round-up: Sky, Philip Morris, Saudi Aramco

Fri, 14 July 2017
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Friday newspaper round-up: Sky, Philip Morris, Saudi Aramco

(ShareCast News) - Rupert Murdoch will not look to strike a deal with the culture secretary, Karen Bradley, to make Sky News more independent and fast-track his £11.7bn takeover of Sky. Bradley has given 21st Century Fox, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James, until Friday to offer further concessions to attempt to prevent the deal being referred to the Competition Markets Authority for further scrutiny. - Guardian
Philip Morris, the multinational company best known for Marlboro cigarettes, has developed a corporate strategy to undermine a global treaty and fight tobacco regulation around the world, leaked documents reveal. A slide presentation from 2014 entitled "Corporate Affairs Approaches and Issues" details a plan to counter plain packaging - the standardised packs and labelling that have recently been introduced in the UK. A World Health Organisation treaty urges their adoption. Tobacco companies have fought them through the courts in a number of countries, as a major Guardian investigationthis week revealed. - Guardian

The Government's only sale of Royal Bank of Scotland shares left the taxpayer nursing a bigger-than-expected £1.9bn loss, according to calculations by the National Audit Office that cast even more doubt on the state's ability to profit from its rescue of the lender. UK Financial Investments (UKFI) offloaded a 5.4pc stake in RBS to investors in August 2015 at 330p-a-share, raising £2.1bn in the process.UKFI is owned by the Treasury and manages the RBS stake at arm's-length to the Government. - Telegraph

Consumer rights group Which? has exposed what it calls "embarrassingly low" satisfaction rates passengers have with the nation's train companies and called for the creation of a rail ombudsman to help improve the industry. The group ran a decade-long analysis on how satisfied customers were with train companies' punctuality, reliability and ability to deal with complaints. - Telegraph

A row has erupted between the big investment institutions and the chief City regulator over plans published yesterday to change stock market rules to enable Saudi Arabia's gigantic state-controlled oil company to list its shares in London. The Financial Conduct Authority was accused of bowing to pressure from Downing Street and the London Stock Exchange and watering down the normal investor protection rules to accommodate Saudi Aramco. - The Times

Higher interest rates and rising inflation pose a serious threat to the public finances because the national debt is unusually exposed to price fluctuations, the Office for Budget Responsibility has warned. Of the £1.7 trillion of national debt, £386 billion is in index-linked gilts that move automatically with inflation. Another £371 billion is held by the Bank of England through its quantitative easing programme and is highly sensitive to changes in interest rates, which tend to follow inflation. - The Times