Ten and Fairfax look for happy marriage, with talk of dating sites merger; JP Morgan to pay $1.45m to settle sexual harassment case: Midday Roundup

Rumours have emerged this morning of a possible merger between two dating websites backed by Australian media companies, as overseas competition forces the brands to try and scale up.

Ten Network Holdings-backed Oasis Active has been reported by The Australian Financial Reviewas approaching Fairfax-owned company RSVP about a possible merger and potential public listing of the joined company.

It has not been confirmed the merger will go ahead, as sources told The Australian Financial Review the deal was still in its early stages.

RSVP is thought to be worth around $40 million and is wholly owned by Fairfax, while Ten has a 40% stake in Oasis Active.

JP Morgan to pay $1.45 million to settle sexual harassment case

United States financial services and banking giant JP Morgan Chase & Co has agreed to settle a US federal harassment lawsuit for nearly $1.5 million.

The company was alleged to have created a hostile working environment for female mortgage bankers at its office near Columbus, Ohio.

It was alleged the business had allowed sexually charged behaviour and comments to be made, creating a “sexist and uncivil atmosphere”. The bank will pay a total of $1.45 million.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission argued the female mortgage bankers became ostracised and suffered economic consequences by being deprived of lucrative sales calls, training opportunities and other employment benefits.

Federal Court rules ANZ late fees exorbitant

The Federal Court has ruled today ANZ’s late payment fees were unacceptable, in a small victory for the 43,500 customers involved in the class action.

However, while the late fees were deemed illegal, other types of fees such as honour, dishonour and non-payment fees were deemed legitimate.

The late payment fees were found to be penalties rather than fees for service and could set a precedent for the broader class-action involving 170,000 customers of Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB and Citi.

Building approvals drop in December

The total number of dwelling approvals fell by 2.9%, seasonally adjusted, in December, but increased throughout the year by 21.8%.

According to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a total of 16,141 dwellings were approved in December, this pushed the trend estimate up 1.5%.

The trend numbers have been rising for the past 24 months, despite the seasonally adjusted figures falling for the past three months.

Shares drop on open

The Australian stock market has opened down, despite analyst predictions to market would open flat.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark had fallen 15.1 points to 5082 at 11:47am AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones closed 72.44 points higher, up 0.47% to 15,445.24.

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