Business

Morning business round-up: EMI-Universal deal approved

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

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The European Commission has approved the takeover of UK music firm EMI by Universal Music, but it must sell some of the firm's most valuable labels.

The assets to be sold off include the Parlophone label, home to artists such as Pink Floyd, Kylie Minogue and Blur.

The proposed £1.2bn ($1.9bn) takeover of EMI was announced in November, prompting a competition investigation.

Although the commission said its ruling would allay competition fears, rivals music labels have condemned the move. The takeover still needs approval from the US Federal Trade Commission.

James Murdoch is being lined up for an expanded role at News Corp, the media empire controlled by his father, according to reports.

Mr Murdoch, 39, who gave up his main executive jobs in the UK earlier this year, is said to be taking charge of News Corp's US television businesses.

The Financial Times and News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal newspapers carried the reports.

On Thursday, Mr Murdoch was criticised strongly by the UK media regulator.

UK public sector net borrowing was £14.4bn in August, the Office for National Statistics has said, little changed from the same month last year.

But the figure was the biggest monthly deficit on record for the month of August. Corporation tax receipts fell by 2.1% and benefits payments rose 4.9%.

The figures make it more likely that the government will fail to achieve its aim of wiping out the structural budget deficit by 2015.

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Shareholders of Canada's Nexen have approved the takeover bid by China's state-owned CNOOC to acquire the firm in a $15.1bn (£9.3bn) deal.

CNOOC had offered to pay $27.50 cash per share for Nexen in July, a 60% premium on its share price at the time.

However, the deal still needs to be approved by the Canadian government which has launched a review to access its benefit to Canada. If approved, the deal will be China's largest foreign business takeover.

Adidas has slashed sales targets for its struggling Reebok brand by a third.

The loss of a contract in the US and fraud uncovered in India meant Reebok's sales by 2015 would reach about 2bn euros (£1.6bn), not 3bn euros as hoped.

Adidas, number two behind Nike in the fiercely competitive sportswear market, bought Reebok in 2005 for $3.8bn (£2.3bn; 3bn euros).

Investors are still putting money into schemes similar to the one touted by Bernard Madoff, according to a lawyer responsible for recouping losses for victims of the disgraced financier.

David Sheehan also said more qualified regulators - not new rules - were needed to enforce proper regulation in order protect investors.

Madoff's victims were compensated by another $2.5bn (£1.5bn) on Thursday. Investors lost $17.3bn from the fraud, of which 58% has been recovered.

Workers at a South African gold mine have begun a wildcat strike - the latest labour unrest in the country's vital mining industry.

The strikers at the Kopanang mine, which employs 5,000 staff, reportedly want their pay to more than double to 12,500 rand ($1,513; £935) a month.

The strike comes a day after miners at the Marikana platinum complex returned to work after reaching a pay deal. South Africa is one of the world's biggest producer of precious metals.

The latest Business Daily programme on the BBC World Service looks into the knotty ethics of the life insurance trade with two industry insiders.

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