Morning business round-up: Merkel pushes fiscal union


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

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Europe is working towards setting up a "fiscal union", in a bid to resolve the eurozone's debt crisis.

She told the Bundestag that a new EU treaty was needed to set up such a union and impose budget discipline.

On Monday she is to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has also called for EU treaty changes.

EU leaders have been under pressure to do more to tackle the debt crisis, amid concern about the survival of the euro.

European stock markets have opened higher as Europe's leaders call for closer economic integration as the way to ultimately resolve the debt crisis.

Leading indexes in France, Germany and the UK were all up between 1.5% and 2% in early trading.

In a speech to the Bundestag, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe was working towards "fiscal union".

Investors are also looking forward with some optimism to key US unemployment figures due out later on Friday.

An Australian state court has approved the takeover of brewer Foster's by SABMiller, meaning the deal worth $9.9bn Australian dollars ($10.2bn; £6.5bn) can now go ahead.

On Thursday, more than 99% of Foster's shareholders voted in favour of the deal, while the Australian government gave its approval last weekend.

Under the terms of the sale, management of Foster's operations and its brewing facilities will remain in Australia.

Shares in Yahoo rose on reports that China's Alibaba Group was preparing a takeover bid with private equity firms Blackstone and Bain Capital.

Yahoo shares ended Thursday trading on the Nasdaq tech exchange 3.3% higher, having been 4.8% up at one point.

Unconfirmed reports said the consortium may pay up to $20 per share - well above Thursday's close of $16.23 - valuing Yahoo at $25bn (£16bn).

Alibaba, one of China's top internet firms, said it was weighing options.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Honda has said it is recalling 304,000 vehicles globally due to concerns about potentially faulty airbags.

The models, all built in 2001 and 2002 and including the Civic and Accord, were found to have airbags that could burst due to defective inflators.

About 300,000 of the cars recalled are in the US and Canada, Honda said.

Tom Glocer will leave his post on 1 January and will be replaced by the group's current chief operating officer, James Smith.

The move follows concerns over the fall in the Reuters share price, which has dropped 29% this year.

The fall is equal to a $5bn (£3.2bn; 3.7bn euros) paper loss for Thomson, which bought Reuters in 2008.

This week's editions of Business Daily programmes report from the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Since the term was first coined by Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs in 2001, the four countries have emerged as industrial powerhouses. The latest programme hears from Jim O Neill about how the decade has transformed the global economic map.

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