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March 3 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening about 21 points down, or 0.3 percent, on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.3 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* LSE/DEUTSCHE BOERSE: The London Stock Exchange Group said on Friday it was continuing to work hard to win approval for its planned merger with Deutsche Boerse, a 29 billion euro ($31 billion) deal now widely seen as doomed.
* WPP: WPP, the world’s largest advertising group, said it had seen a relatively slow start to 2017 and would plan conservatively for the year ahead after hitting its 2016 target for net sales growth.
* GLENCORE: Tens of millions of dollars in royalties and signing bonuses that Glencore told an independent transparency board it had paid to Congo’s state mining company actually went to a business controlled by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, advocacy group Global Witness said in a report on Friday.
* SKY/TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FOX: James Murdoch, the chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox, lauded the quality of Britain’s television industry on Thursday as the company makes a fresh attempt to gain control of European TV business Sky.
* 3i: Luxury lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur, backed by buyout fund 3i , was sold to Four Holdings, on Thursday, after going into administration, its administrator AlixPartners said. Four Holdings is quarter owned by Mike Ashley's Sports Direct, Financial Times reported separately. on.ft.com/2lzBR2f
* GSK: GlaxoSmithKline's top investors are increasing pressure on the drugmaker's board to reduce a proposed multi-million-pound pay deal for new Chief Executive Emma Walmsley, Sky News reported on Thursday, citing sources. bit.ly/2mfRUpI
* UK ECONOMY: Growth in Britain’s private sector picked up speed in the three months to February, according to a survey published on Friday by an employers group, contrasting with some recent signs of a slowdown in other gauges of the economy.
* UK BANKS: Banks based in Britain seeking to do business in the European Union after Brexit should apply early for a licence to set up actual operations and not “empty shells”, European Central Bank supervisor Sabine Lautenschlaeger said on Thursday.
* UK SMALL BUSINESSES: Britain’s smaller companies are hoarding cash and cutting investment, bankers say, a sign of business confidence starting to wobble as the government sets off down the uncertain path of leaving the European Union.
* UK INDUSTRIES: Britain’s new industrial strategy, unveiled earlier this year to prepare the economy for Brexit, is lacking in long-term thinking and risks making the same mistakes as prior, failed plans, a group of lawmakers said.
* The UK blue chip index ended flat after hitting a record high on Thursday, with a slump in Capita, which missed its profit target and announced the departure of its chief executive, weighing.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)