PRESS DIGEST - Sunday British Business - May 5

LONDON Sun May 5, 2013 10:33am EDT

LONDON May 5 (Reuters) - British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday:

The Sunday Times

RBS'S HESTER SAYS DIFFICULT TO FIND BORROWERS FOR 20 BLN STG

Stephen Hester, chief executive of part-nationalised RBS , says that the bank has 20 billion pounds ($31 billion) of spare cash that it is "desperate" to lend but is unable to due to the lack of business confidence in the economy.

TOUGH CAPITAL RULES HELP BANKS TO LEND

Concerns that strict rules on bank capital levels would harm lending to the UK economy are greatly exaggerated, Britain's top banking regulator Andrew Bailey said.

FORMER XSTRATA BOSS HIRES GOLDMAN FOR COMEBACK

Mick Davis, the former boss of pre-merger mining giant Xstrata, has hired Goldman Sachs to raise money to set up a new resource giant.

UK GOVERNMENT EYES 40 BLN STG STUDENT LOANS SALE

British ministers are weighing up plans to sell the government's 40 billion pound student loan book as part of a series of privatisations that include the country's postal service Royal Mail.

UK COAL'S FATE REST IN TAX MAN'S HANDS

Britain's largest miner UK Coal is in talks with the country's tax authority, HM Revenue & Customs, over a 2 million pound tax bill. Sources said that UK Coal, which is part owned by Coalfield Resources, has offered to make staggered payments over 12-18 months, which would help it control its cash flow.

BETFAIR TO PAY SHAREHOLDERS 140 MLN STG

Betfair directors are discussing plans to pay 140 million pounds to shareholders to fend off a hostile 900 million pound takeover from private equity group CVC Capital Partners .

SAINSBURY BUYS OUT BANK IN FRESH ASSAULT ON TESCO

J Sainsbury is preparing to gain full control of its bank by buying out Lloyds Banking Group's 50 percent stake in Sainsbury Bank, ending a joint venture set up in 1997.

The Sunday Telegraph

J SAINSBURY TO POST NEW SALES RECORD

J Sainsbury will likely take the title of Britain's best performing major supermarket this week when it posts its eighth consecutive year of like-for-like sales growth.

HP BOARD SUED OVER AUTONOMY PURCHASE

Hewlett-Packard board members were named in a lawsuit lodged by shareholders who say that executives such as chief executive Meg Whitman were aware of "many red flags" before their takeover of British software maker Autonomy.

Mail on Sunday

QATARIS IN TALKS TO BUY HOUSE OF FRASER

Department store House of Fraser could be bought by the Qataris in a deal worth more than 300 million pounds. City sources said that the Qataris, who bought Harrods in 2010, have been looking at an acquisition for several weeks.

Independent on Sunday

THOMAS COOK TO OUTSOURCE PROPERTY TEAM

Travel agent Thomas Cook intends to outsource its property team as it accelerates the closure of its high street store network.

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