Spanish banks hit by credit downgrade
Banco Santander and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria were among 15 Spain-based financial firms downgraded by Standard & Poor's after the credit-ratings agency reduced the nation's grade last month. Santander, Spain's biggest bank, was lowered to A+ from AA-, while BBVA was reduced to A from A+, S&P said yesterday in a statement.
EU approves Google Motorola buyout
Google's $12.5bn (€9.4bn) acquisition of cellphone maker Motorola Mobility has won approval of European anti-trust regulators, moving Google one step closer to completing the biggest deal in its 13-year history. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement yesterday that regulators didn't believe the transaction itself raised any competitive problems. The EU action means Google Inc now only needs government approval in the US, China, Taiwan and Israel before it can close a deal announced six months ago.
German coalition united over tax plan
THE head of one of Angela Merkel's coalition partners said he will do what he can to ensure a deal signed by Germany and Switzerland to clamp down on tax dodgers is not thrown out of parliament. The agreement signed last September aims to tax money stashed by German citizens in secret accounts, netting Berlin billions of euros and whittling away at Switzerland's cherished but under-fire banking secrecy.