Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
Rival toymakers Hasbro and Mattel have had talks about merging, Bloomberg reports. Hasbro, which makes Furby and My Little Pony, approached Mattel, which makes Barbie and Hot Wheels, about potentially combining last year, according to the report.
News Corp’s quarterly revenue fell for the fourth quarter in a row, hurt by a slump in its core news and information services business, which includes Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal. The company, which is controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, said total revenue fell 4.3% to $2.16 billion (£1.48 billion) in the second quarter ended December 31, down from $2.26 billion (£1.55 billion) a year earlier.
BNP Paribas SA posted a 52% decline in fourth-quarter earnings, missing estimates after writing down goodwill at its Italian unit. But Bloomberg reports that France’s biggest bank has announced a revamp of its investment bank to boost profit and free up capital. Net income fell to 665 million euros (£511 million, $744 million) from 1.38 billion euros a year earlier, the Paris-based company said Friday.
US nonfarm payrolls are coming. Reuters is forecasting the key measure of US employment to show a 190,000 increase when the figures are released at 1.30 p.m. GMT (8.30 a.m. ET).
Asian stock markets are mixed. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1.32%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.40% at time of writing (6.35 a.m. GMT/1.35 a.m. ET), and China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite is down 0.37%.
The pound could lose a fifth of its value if the UK votes to leave the European Union, Goldman Sachs has warned. The Telegraph reports that the leading investment bank has said that the country’s large current account deficit would be a “source of vulnerability” in the event of a vote for Brexit. The pound could fall sharply, crashing to as low as $1.15 (£0.79) or $1.20 (£0.82), Goldman said.
LinkedIn shares plunged by as much as 21% in after-hours trading in the US on Thursday after the company reported a quarterly loss, with weaker-than-expected guidance. The social network for professionals said that it expects first-quarter adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.55, but analysts had estimated $0.75, according to Bloomberg. It projected full-year revenues at $3.6 billion (£2.4 billion) to $3.65 billion (£2.5 billion), versus $3.9 billion (£2.6 billion) expected.
State Street is nearing a deal to acquire General Electric’s $115 billion (£78.9 billion) asset management business, according to people familiar with the matter, as the US industrial conglomerate continues to shed unloved assets. State Street, a Boston-based asset manager, has prevailed over other bidders including Goldman Sachss and is now in the final stages of negotiating a deal with GE, the people said this week.
Taiwan’s Foxconn has offered to invest around 659 billion yen (£3.8 billion, $5.6 billion) in struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. Sharp has chosen Foxconn as its preferred bidder in takeover talks. One source said Sharp’s board on Thursday had voted 13-0 to negotiate with Foxconn instead of a state-backed Japanese fund, the Innovation Network Corp of Japan.
A quarter of the £130 million ($189 million) in tax recovered from Google by HM Revenue & Customs related to the US company’s share options scheme. The Guardian reports that filings by Google’s UK subsidiary show that £33 million ($48 million) of the funds paid to the Treasury followed a wrangle over share options handed to staff, which the US business had argued were exempt from UK tax. The company’s accounts show that the government was only able to claw back less than £100 million ($145.5 million) in corporation tax from Google for the 2005-2014 period, and not the £130 million the chancellor claimed.
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