Money Briefs: Seek eyes Packer's stake in China unit

Seek eyes Packer's stake in China unit

SYDNEY • Australian jobs website Seek says it is in talks to buy billionaire casino boss James Packer's stake in a Chinese subsidiary, in a deal which will further reduce Mr Packer's investment exposure to China.

Seek, the world's biggest standalone listed jobs website, owns about 75 per cent of Beijing-based, New York-listed Zhaopin, while an investment vehicle of Mr Packer has two-thirds of the rest, according to Thomson Reuters data.

In a stock market filing yesterday, Sydney-listed Seek said it is negotiating to buy Mr Packer's stake in Zhaopin for US$18 (S$25.50) a share.

The move pushed Seek's shares 5.7 per cent higher, their best intraday gain in a year, to a near five-month peak, while the broader S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.7 per cent.


UK shoppers hold back as prices rise

LONDON • British shoppers unexpectedly cut back on their spending last month as last year's Brexit vote pushed up inflation, official data showed yesterday.

It is the strongest sign to date that the country's economy is heading for a slowdown.

Consumers were barely fazed last year by the decision in June to leave the European Union. But they are turning more cautious, with prices rising quickly in response to the post-referendum slump in the value of the pound and higher oil prices.

Official data showed retail sales volumes fell by 0.3 per cent month-on-month in January. No forecaster had expected a fall.

Said Scotiabank economist Alan Clarke: "The theme for most forecasters this year is that consumer spending is going to suffer as higher prices erode real incomes.

"But I don't think anyone would have expected the pace of spending to have suffered so much, so soon."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline 'Money Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe