By Tom Körkemeier RIGA (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble hinted on Saturday that Berlin was preparing for a possible Greek default, drawing a parallel with the secrecy of German reunification plans in 1989. At a briefing with reporters after a tense meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Greece on Friday, Schaeuble was asked if euro zone finance ministers were working on a "Plan B" in case negotiations on funding with cash-strapped Athens fail. To explain his position, he drew a parallel with the secrecy that was necessary during the initial stage of planning for German reunification in 1989. The finance minister of Slovenia suggested at that meeting that because the talks, that have been going on for three months, were leading nowhere, perhaps euro zone ministers should starting discussing a Plan B -- what happens if Greece defaults.
By Robin Emmott and Ingrid Melander RIGA (Reuters) - As the buses carrying European finance ministers left for a gala dinner in the Latvian capital on Friday night, one of the party hung back at the hotel and then wandered off alone into the dusk. Greece's Yanis Varoufakis had other dinner plans, he said, after a bruising first day of meetings in Riga that underlined his isolation as he tries to avert national bankruptcy. While other ministers were feted by their entourages with food and warm clothing during the meeting in Riga, Varoufakis was seen alone at almost every turn, eschewing aides or any security detail. "He is completely isolated," a senior euro zone official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Comcast Corp abandoned its $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable Inc on Friday after U.S. regulators raised concerns that the deal would give Comcast an unfair advantage in the cable TV and Internet-based services market. The collapse of the deal opens the door for other possible offers for Time Warner Cable, but also casts heightened regulatory risk on merger activity in the U.S. cable industry, which has been rapidly consolidating in the face of competition from satellite TV and Web-based services. Comcast had argued the merger would bring faster service and better video services to more Americans. Charter Communications Inc lost out on a bid for Time Warner Cable last year, and Charter's controlling shareholder, Liberty Media Corp, had since indicated continuing interest.
UBS's chairman said a default by Greece is seen by the International Monetary Fund as "systemically controllable" and he believed it would have a negligible impact on the Swiss bank itself, according to a newspaper interview published on Saturday. Euro zone finance ministers told Greece on Friday that its leftist government would get no more aid until it agreed a complete economic reform plan. In an interview with Neue Zuercher Zeitung, the chairman of Zurich-based UBS, Axel Weber, addressed the alternative if euro zone and Greek officials fail to reach an agreement. "I've just come from a meeting of the International Monetary Fund.