he high-stakes pursuit of Ladbrokes owner Entain was the main focus for London investors today after the FTSE 100 index company confirmed an approach from DraftKings pitched at £28 a share, equivalent to more than $22 billion.
It told investors it is considering the proposal amid huge interest in the rapidly-expanding US sports betting market.
The FTSE 100 index, meanwhile, rallied by a bigger-than-expected 1% to return above the 7,000 threshold as a bond deal by China’s Evergrande eased immediate worries over its future to help the top flight build on turnaround Tuesday’s 1% improvement.
FTSE 100 makes gains
At 2pm London’s blue chip index was 100.55 points higher at 7081.53. The gains in part came after China’s embattled property group Evergrande eased market worries over its immediate future.
The Evening Standard’s market report earlier said that the debt-laden firm’s onshore property unit said an interest payment due tomorrow on one of its yuan-denominated bonds “has been resolved via negotiations off the clearing house.”
The statement raised more questions than answers but for now investors are prepared to move on from Monday’s sharp sell-off, when contagion fears stemming from Evergrande’s potential failure sent miners and Asia-focused companies sharply lower.
Here are the main stories this lunchtime:
• The FTSE 100 is up 88 points, or 1.2%, to reach 7069. The index has climbed back above the 7000 mark after Chinese real estate giant Evergrande announced it had reached a deal on debt repayments due today. Fears that China’s second largest property developer could default on its mammoth debt pile sent stock markets around the world sinking on Monday.
• PZ Cussons, the consumer goods firm behind Carex hand soap and St Tropez tanning lotion, has sunk 3.7% after reporting a drop in sales and warning on rising costs. “We are trying to work lots of levers to offset [these cost rises] and protect margins,” chief executive Jonathan Myers told the Standard. “Where necessary there will be price increases, but we are really trying to avoid this.”
• LVMH, the French luxury group behind Louis Vuitton and Moet champagne, has announced plans to hire 25,000 young people. The company said the plan was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hurt job prospects for young people. The stock is up 1.2% in Paris, likely buoyed by relief about the Chinese economy linked to Evergrande.
• India’s Serum Institute — the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer — has invested £50 million in Oxford Biomedica. Shares are up over 9% in London. Oxford Biomedica makes the AstraZeneca vaccine and plans to expand its facilities with the new investment.
• Investors await the latest update from the US Federal Reserve later today. The Fed will publish a statement at 6pm UK time. Analysts expect the central bank to warn about growing challenges to the global economy recovery caused by supply chain issues, inflation, and other macroeconomic issues.
London remains best city for tech innovation outside Silicon Valley and New York, new rankings table finds
Read the full story HERE.
LVMH looks to boost workforce size
Luxury goods giant LVMH has outlined plans to go on a major hiring spree.
The Paris-listed company behind brands such as Louis Vuitton and Celine wants to recruit 25,000 people under the age of 30 by the end of 2022.
The global search for talent will help add to its existing workforce, currently around 165,000 employees.
Read the full story HERE.
NETFLIX is stepping into the gloriumptious world of Roald Dahl with the acquisition of the company which licences the author’s works.
The streaming giant intends to build a “unique universe” around the likes of Matilda, the BFG and Willie Wonka with initial plans for 19 animated and live action films, new TV series, video games and stage shows.
No price has been attached.
Luke Kelly, grandson of the late writer and RDSC’s MD, said: “Being part of a larger company supports our mission to share the stories’ messages of hope and the power and the possibility of young people.”
Dahl, who died in 1990 aged 74, remains popular with young readers around the world and several of his books such as “The BFG”, “Fantastic Mr Fox” and most recently “The Witches” have been turned into movies and stage shows.
“As we bring these timeless tales to more audiences in new formats, we’re committed to maintaining their unique spirit and their universal themes of surprise and kindness, while also sprinkling some fresh magic into the mix,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said.