Jan 31 - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
ZYNGA BUYS BRITISH GAME MAKER NATURALMOTION FOR $527 MILLION
Zynga, which is known as much for its struggles as a public company as for its hits such as Farmville, will acquire NaturalMotion, the company behind hit mobile games such as Clumsy Ninja for $527 million.
BUSINESS LENDING CHANNELS ‘DAMAGED’, SAYS BCC, AS NET LENDING FALLS
Business lending fell in December, Bank of England data showed on Thursday, in what business groups described as proof that corporate funding channels were “damaged”. Net lending to non-financial firms declined 1.9 billion pounds in December, following November’s sharp drop of 4.6 billion pounds, which represented the biggest fall since records began in 2011.
SANTANDER UK STOCK MARKET FLOTATION ‘WILL NOT HAPPEN IN 2014’
Santander UK will await clarification on new rules relating to capital levels and the “ringfencing” of banking business before it goes ahead with a flotation of its UK arm. The long-awaited listing of the UK business - first mooted in 2010 - has been deemed a medium-term prospect by the Spanish-based bank and is not expected to take place this year.
Hundreds of jobs are being lost at Barclays under changes in its corporate banking division, it has been announced. Around 400 posts will go, and the Unite union said a further 120 were being placed at risk this year.
ASTRAZENECA TURNS ITS BACK ON “DISEASES OF THE POOR” AstraZeneca has abandoned any scientific effort to search for new medicines to tackle many of the world’s deadliest diseases by shutting down its drug discovery work into neglected tropical diseases, tuberculosis and malaria. Britain’s second-largest drugs company has decided that infectious diseases are “not a priority” as Pascal Soriot, its chief executive, cuts costs and scrambles to halt a slide in profits.
SFO SEEKS 19 MILLION POUNDS EMERGENCY CASH AS TCHENGUIZ PUTS PRESSURE ON FUNDING
The Serious Fraud Office has asked Parliament for an emergency cash injection of 19 million pounds in order that it can continue with blockbuster investigations and clean up bungled cases. The white collar crime-fighting agency said that it needed the money before the end of March to finance investigations into Libor-rigging, alleged bribery by Rolls-Royce in Asia and Barclays’ dealings with the Qatari Government in 2008.
Strong growth in on-demand and home communication products helped BSkyB beat City forecasts despite growing competition for pay-television viewers, the company said.
Troubled outsourcing firm Serco has seen its shares drop 17 percent after it issued a profit warning. The company said its 2014 profit may be 20 percent lower than market forecasts, due to implementation of a business overhaul following contract disputes with its biggest revenue stream, the UK Government.