first_img FINANCIAL TIMESGERMANY BACKS WIDER RESCUE FUND ROLE Germany is backing proposals to give new powers and lending capacity to the €440bn Eurozone rescue fund, even if that means increasing its financial guarantees, according to people familiar with the issue in Berlin and Brussels. Such a move would be part of a package of measures, including greater co-ordination of economic policymaking between the 17 eurozone members.OBERTHUR MAKES BUY-OUT APPROACHThe prospect of Oberthur mounting a firm bid for rival De La Rue, the crisis-hit British banknote printer, has increased after it emerged that the French secure technology company has approached private equity groups to inject fresh capital. Oberthur has proposed issuing a convertible bond of between £300m and £400m. LIB DEMS PRESS FOR TOUGH BANK DEALNick Clegg and Vince Cable are demanding that London becomes the world’s most transparent financial centre, as the Lib Dems increase the pressure to attach tough conditions on pay disclosure to any peace deal with the banks. With defeat looming for the Liberal Democrats in Thursday’s Oldham by-election, Mr Clegg’s party is desperate.BUY-OUT GROUPS RETURN TO THE FRAYPrivate equity firms have rediscovered their Keynesian “animal spirits” in Europe, returning in force to dealmaking even though the credit crisis is forcing them to use an unusually low level of debt to finance their deals. The value of company buy-outs almost trebled in Europe from €18.3bn ($24bn) in 2009 to €49bn last yearTHE TIMESBRITAIN MUST HELP US SAVE THE EURO, WARNS FRENCH PMFrance will urge Britain today to back deeper European integration in order to save the euro, or face catastrophe for its own economy if the currency fails. François Fillon, the Prime Minister, told The Times that he is taking his message to David Cameron at talks in London that come after a day of respite for the embattled currency. “Europe finds itself at an historic turning point,” Fillon said.THE BEATLE’S HIDEAWAY, A SNIP AT LESS THAN £3MRingo Starr’s 16-acre Aspen ranch is one of the headline acts leading the rebranding of Christie’s property business. His Colorado estate is being offered for £2.9 million through the renamed Christie’s International Real Estate, a treasure trove of trophy properties worth £1 million or more.The Daily TelegraphUS TREASURY SECRETARY TIM GEITHNER CALLS ON CHINA TO STRENGTHEN YUANUS Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has gone on the offensive over China’s attempts to devalue its currency. Ahead of next week’s visit to Washington by Hu Jintao, China’s president, Mr Geithner said the Eastern country needs to strengthen the “substantially undervalued” yuan because it puts other countries at a competitive disadvantage. DAVOS 2011: FIFTH OF ALL DELEGATES MUST BE WOMENPolitical correctness has made it all the way to the Swiss alpine peaks, it seems. In a break from the norm that will have many a Davos delegate looking forward to the apres-ski, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has stipulated that one-in-five delegates at the high-profile conference should be female.THE WALL STREET JOURNALAIG’S MAJOR SHARE SALE NEARAmerican International Group said it expects to close an agreement with the U.S. government on Friday, paving the way for share sales that could eventually enable the insurer to end its status as a ward of the state. Preparations for what could be the biggest stock offering in U.S. history officially get under way on Thursday.ORBAN VOWS TIGHTER SPENDING RULES Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a skeptic of the European Union’s authority to police members’ budget policies, pledged to push for tighter spending rules and support the euro as his government takes up the bloc’s rotating presidency. “Without fiscal unity, the currency is vulnerable,” Mr. Orban said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. 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