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Market report: Vodafone climbs on talk of activist Elliott taking a ‘significant’ stake

Traders’ phones buzzed with rumours this afternoon that the aggressive activist fund Elliott Advisors had taken a stake in Vodafone to push for a shake-up.
The telecoms giant declined to comment on a report by the trade news service Dealreporter, which said Elliott had taken a significant stake. Its shares nevertheless spiked 3.6pc, or 6.5p, to 186.5p, on hopes that incoming chief executive Nick Read will be spurred to take radical action to revive the share price. Vodafone shares are down more than 20pc so far this year as its operations in Italy come under pressure.
The reported activist interest comes as Vodafone seeks regulatory clearance for its ?16bn acquisition of Liberty Global networks on the Continent, including in Germany.
Elliott and Vodafone have previously clashed in Germany over the takeover of Kabel Deutschland. The fund sought to squeeze a higher price for Kabel Deutschland out of Vodafone, but has ended up in a protracted court dispute as the business held firm.
Overall, blue-chips ended the day broadly flat, with the FTSE 100 index shading 0.5 points to 7,700.85.
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Among the midcaps, Thomas Cook made headlines with its decision to stop selling trips to Seaworld and other aquatic parks that keep orcas in captivity over welfare concerns. But it was a report in The Sunday Times that the holiday operator is considering a sale of its airline that was seen as the likely culprit for a 6.5p surge in its shares to 96.85p.
A spokesman, however, said while Thomas Cook was “open to playing our part in consolidation where it makes sense for our business”, it had “no current plans to sell our airline”.
Another strong midcap performer was engineer Senior, up 29.8p to 334.4p. The FTSE 250 company, which makes hoses, connectors and metallic bellows for car and plane manufacturers, reported a 31pc surge in pre-tax profits to ?31.4m on revenues of ?523m, both ahead of analysts’ expectations.
Market report: Vodafone climbs on talk of activist Elliott taking a ‘significant’ stake

Senior's shares soared after a strong set of interim results

Credit:
Brian Neel Parks
Solid results from Clipper Logistics as it continued to cash in on the move to online shopping were overshadowed by a warning from its chairman Steve Parkin that trouble in the retail sector was forcing the company to “bring an element of caution into our planning”.
Shares in Clipper, which provides warehousing and fulfilment services to customers such as John Lewis and Asda, closed down 88p at 317p.
Meanwhile, Countrywide slumped 2.55p to 45.55p after The Sunday Telegraph revealed lenders are sceptical of the estate agent’s turnaround plans.
Power station operator Drax dipped 4.2p after it emerged that star fund manager Neil Woodford had cut his fund’s stake in the business from 9.89pc to less than 5pc.
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