December 17, 2014 / 12:30 AM / 3 years ago

PRESS DIGEST- British Business - Dec 17

Dec 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

BANKS STAND UP TO STRESS TESTS BUT A FRESH CRASH WOULD WIPE OUT PROFITS

Profits at Britain's leading banks would collapse by 91 billion pounds in the event of a new financial crisis, forcing the country's largest lenders to slash shareholder payouts and implement swingeing cost cuts, according to the Bank of England's latest industry stress tests. (thetim.es/1DJ8q5d)

INVESTORS CHEERED BY BT TAKEOVER European investors have backed BT Group Plc's proposed 12.5 billion pounds takeover of the mobile operator EE, driving the share prices of all interested parties higher 24 hours after the deal was announced. That was despite growing speculation that the merger is likely to be the subject of full-blown scrutiny by regulators on the Continent and by the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK. (thetim.es/1z0ROmq) The Guardian

BANK STRESS TESTS: CO-OP FAILS AS LLOYDS AND RBS SCRAPE THROUGH

A severe economic shock would exhaust the Co-operative Bank's capital and force Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to bolster their financial strength, the Bank of England has found after exposing the banking sector to tests designed to measure its resilience. (bit.ly/1vV3tw1) LASTMINUTE.COM SOLD FOR FRACTION OF ITS 2005 PRICE

Lastminute.com, the travel site that became one of the best-known names of the dotcom era, has been sold for a fraction of the price it fetched almost a decade ago. Bravofly Rumbo Group, a European online travel agent, will pay 76 million pounds ($119.68 million) to Sabre Corp, the US owner of Travelocity, which paid 577 million pounds for Lastminute in 2005. (bit.ly/1ztRdYc)

The Telegraph

OIL PRICE COLLAPSE IS GOOD NEWS FOR BRITISH PEOPLE, SAYS GEORGE OSBORNE

The collapse in world oil prices is "overall a very good thing" for Britain, the US and Western economies, George Osborne has said. The Chancellor called the fall in oil prices this year a "net positive" that would also put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his oil-dependent economy. (bit.ly/1ztZL16)

RBS RAISES 2 BLN STG TO PASS BANK OF ENGLAND STRESS TEST

The Royal Bank of Scotland has been forced to go to investors for 2 billion pounds to placate the Bank of England, it emerged on Tuesday, as the regulator said the taxpayer-owned bank was one of three major lenders at risk in a financial crisis. (bit.ly/1zp1tCq)

Sky News GOOGLE SHUTS DOWN SPANISH NEWS SERVICE

Google Inc has gone ahead with its threat to shut down its news service, Google News in Spain, before a Spanish intellectual property law comes into effect in January. The service, which provided aggregated news content, has been replaced by a message from Google saying it is 'incredibly sad' to announce the removal of Spanish publishers from the site, as well as the closure of Google News in Spain. (bit.ly/1BVRI0y)

WPP PICKS QUARTA TO SUCCEED LADER AS CHAIRMAN WPP Plc, the marketing services giant, will this week end a year-long search for a new chairman when it names Roberto Quarta, a respected industrialist, to the role. (bit.ly/16pP0n3)

The Independent

BRENT OIL PRICES PLUNGE BELOW $59 A BARREL Oil extended losses on Tuesday, falling below $59 a barrel for the first time since July 2009 and heaping further pressure on oil exporters. Not only have billions been wiped off the value of London-listed companies like BP in recent weeks, analysts fear that spending across the industry could be cut by up to $1 trillion and thousands of jobs lost in the UK. (ind.pn/1BVSoD5)

$1 = 0.6350 pounds Compiled by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; editing by Andrew Hay

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