Sept 17 (Reuters) - 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.
The Times TUI TRAVEL'S MERGER PLAN WILL 'RELEASE TRAPPED VALUE' The FTSE 100 travel group behind Thomson and First Choice has finalised the terms of a 6.5 billion euros ($8.42 billion) merger with its German parent company that will deliver 167.5 million euros of cost and synergy benefits. TUI Travel, which is 54 percent-owned by TUI AG, said the all-paper, nil-premium merger would create "the world's No 1 integrated leisure tourism business" to the benefit of both companies. (thetim.es/1qZOqSG)
CONOCOPHILIPS SPARKS RUSH FOR CLAIR OILFIELD WITH SALE The ownership of one of Scotland’s most valuable oilfields is up for grabs after an American oil company put its stake up for sale. ConocoPhillips has appointed banks to find buyers for its 24 percent share in the Clair oilfield west of Shetland, which could fetch between 1.2 billion pounds ($1.95 billion) and 1.8 billion pounds.
THOMAS COOK EXPERIENCES SLOWDOWN IN GERMAN HOLIDAY BOOKINGS Thomas Cook Group Plc has been hit by weakening consumer confidence in Germany, as political uncertainty weighs on its crucial continental Europe business. The travel agent said German holiday bookings had slowed, "reflecting a less optimistic consumer climate due to geopolitical events, as well as a more subdued economic outlook as the EU considers adopting further sanctions against Russia". (bit.ly/1ARwgF3)
The Telegraph BP CAUGHT USING 'COLLEGE' TRICKS TO CHEAT PAGE COUNT A U.S. judge has reprimanded BP Plc for using tactics that would "not be appropriate for a college term paper" after the oil giant tried to sneak six extra pages into a court filing by manipulating line spacings. (bit.ly/1qVQD2T) WALK AWAY FROM DEBT AND LOSE POUND WITHIN A YEAR, SCOTS TOLD An independent Scotland would collapse within a year if it kept the pound and walked away from its share of the national debt, according to a respected think tank. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research said reneging on its debt obligations would simultaneously freeze Scotland out of the European Union and international markets, forcing it to return "to a fiscal surplus and therefore unprecedented austerity", and ultimately its own currency within a year. (bit.ly/1t9qUEX)
SANTANDER UK TO NAME BOSTOCK AS NEW CHIEF Former finance director of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Nathan Bostock, is poised to be named as the new chief of Santander UK Plc, Britain's fifth-biggest lender. Bostock will replace Ana Botin, who was last week elevated to become group executive chairman of Banco Santander following the death of her father, Emilio Botin. (bit.ly/1ydWdmd)
MODERATING INFLATION CUTS LIKELIHOOD OF BANK RATE RISE Another fall in inflation during August has pushed back the likelihood of the Bank of England raising interest rates, City analysts said on Tuesday. (ind.pn/1qVXpWg)
SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: BETFAIR PAYS OUT 'NO' BETS IN REFERENDUM- EVEN THOUGH VOTE IS DAYS AWAY Betfair Group Plc has started to pay out bets to punters who have staked their money on a "No" result in the Scottish independence referendum - even though the result of the vote is three days away. The online gaming firm said customers who placed bets with its bookmaking business, Betfair Sportsbook, will get their winnings now. (ind.pn/1qZN4Y6) (1 US dollar = 0.6149 British pound) (1 US dollar = 0.7719 euro) (Reporting by Rama Venkat Raman in Bangalore; Editing by Ken Wills)