LONDON BRIEFING: Euromoney confirms private equity takeover approach

Writer,

Euromoney Institutional Investor early Monday confirmed a weekend report by the Daily Mail newspaper that two private equity firms are considering a bid for the FTSE 250-listed business information publisher and events organiser.

Euromoney confirmed it received an approach from a consortium of Astorg Asset Management and Epiris regarding a possible cash offer for Euromoney of 1,461 pence per Euromoney share, valuing the company at £1.6 billion.

The latest offer represents a 34% premium to Friday's closing share price of 1,094.00p. The stock was up 25% at 1,366.81p early Monday.

Euromoney said the proposal follows earlier approaches from the consortium to the board regarding a possible all cash offer for Euromoney at 1,175p, 1,250p, 1,310p and 1,350p per Euromoney share.

‘The board is engaged in discussions with the consortium regarding the proposal. There can be no certainty that an offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made,’ Euromoney said.

The Daily Mail is owned by Euromoney's former largest shareholder, Daily Mail & General Trust.

Here is what you need to know at the London market open:

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MARKETS

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FTSE 100: up 0.3% at 7,040.45

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Hang Seng: up 0.3% at 21,132.01

Nikkei 225: closed down 0.7% at 25,771.22

S&P/ASX 200: closed down 0.6% at 6,433.40

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DJIA: closed down 38.29 points, or 0.1%, at 29,888.78

S&P 500: closed up 8.07 points, or 0.2%, at 3,674.84

Nasdaq Composite: closed up 152.25 points, or 1.4%, at 10,798.35

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EUR: up at $1.0530 ($1.0465)

GBP: up at $1.2237 ($1.2211)

USD: down at JP¥134.90 (JP¥135.17)

GOLD: up at $1,843.12 per ounce ($1,841.66)

OIL (Brent): down at US113.75 a barrel ($114.22)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

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Monday's key economic events still to come

US Juneteenth holiday observed. Financial markets closed.

ECB President Lagarde at European Parliament Committee on Economic & Monetary Affairs

1100 CEST EU construction output

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Union leaders have accused the UK government of ‘inflaming’ tensions over the rail dispute ahead of several days of travel chaos because of train and Tube strikes. Services on the railways and London Underground will be crippled from Tuesday in the biggest walkout in the industry for more than 30 years in a row over pay, jobs and conditions. Members of the Rail, Maritime & Transport union at Network Rail and 13 train operators will strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with only around one in five trains running and disruption to services on days following the action. The RMT and Unite also are staging a 24-hour walkout on London Underground which will cause huge disruption to the Tube.

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Energy consumers' money is to be protected in the UK under new financial measures to ensure suppliers can withstand future shocks, Ofgem has announced. The UK energy regulator has said suppliers will be able to ‘weather the ongoing storm’ of challenges facing the industry, especially over autumn and winter. Proposals include better protecting consumer credit balances if a company fails, ensuring suppliers have enough money during trying circumstances and allowing firms to have sufficient control over key assets. There will also be a tightening on the level of direct debits suppliers can charge customers.

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The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has expressed confidence that Ukraine will be granted official candidate status ahead of a key EU summit in Brussels later this month. ‘I firmly believe that we will get a positive decision, that we will get support, that the course has now been set,’ von der Leyen told German public broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening. ‘Of course, this is also a historic decision that the European Council now has to make, but the preparations are good,’ she said, adding that she was ‘confident’ of Ukrainian prospects. Von der Leyen's comments come after the EU Commission on Friday came out in favour of formally designating Ukraine and Moldova as candidates to join the EU. The 27 EU member states are due to discuss the Commission's recommendation at a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Also on the agenda will be Georgia's application for EU membership, which, in the Commission's estimation, should be subject to the fulfilment of various conditions.

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BROKER RATING CHANGES

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Barclays cuts Asos price target to 1075 (1615) pence - 'equal weight

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jefferies cuts Pennon price target to 840 (900) pence - 'underperform'

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JPMorgan cuts Deliveroo to 'underweight' (neutral) - price target 81 (94) pence

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JPMorgan cuts Just Eat Takeaway.com price target to 1,446 (1,758) pence - 'neutral'

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COMPANIES - FTSE 100

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AB Foods said its third-quarter trading performance was in line with expectations, and it kept its outlook unchanged. For the 36 weeks to May 28, revenue for the quarter increased by 32%. Sales in its Food businesses increased 10% which it said reflected price actions to recover input cost inflation and volume increases in the Ingredients arm. AB Sugar revenue for the quarter was 7% ahead of last year. At its Primark discount fashion chain, all stores traded during the period, in contrast to last year when most stores were closed until the middle of April, it explained. AB Foods said sales at Primark in the quarter were 81% ahead of last year and year to date were 69% ahead of the comparable period a year before. The company highlighted that like-for-like sales at Primark have been improving since the half year, and for the quarter were 9% below pre-Covid levels three years ago. In the UK & Republic of Ireland like-for-like sales have improved markedly, while in Continental Europe performance only started to improve at the end of the quarter following the removal of remaining Covid restrictions. Primark remains on track to deliver a full-year adjusted operating profit margin of around 10%, AB Foods said.

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COMPANIES - FTSE 250

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easyJet warned about rising costs, caused by the recent disruption of flights and the need to lease additional aircraft, as well as higher crew costs and airport charges. It said it expects the extra costs to be a one-off occurrence this summer, with more system resilience built in time for the 2023 peak season. The budget airline said it expects to fly 87% of pre-pandemic capacity in its current quarter and 90% in its financial fourth quarter, which ends on September 30. ‘Delivering a safe and reliable operation for our customers in this challenging environment is easyJet’s highest priority, and we are sorry that for some customers we have not been able to deliver the service they have come to expect from us,’ said Chief Executive Johan Lundgren. easyJet shares were down 3.7% early Monday.

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Rank Group said that, having suffered a ‘softer’ performance in its UK venues throughout its financial third quarter, it entered its current fourth quarter with visit numbers down across Grosvenor casinos. Rank said it has seen some improvement in Grosvenor's performance post April, but acknowledged trading has been ‘considerably weaker than expected’. Rank attributed this to the slower-than-expected return of higher spending overseas customers to London casinos, continued softness in visitor numbers across the UK, and a lower-than-average casino win margin in the quarter to date. As a result, Rank expects like-for-like underlying operating profit to be £40 million for the year ending June 30, lower than the previously guided range of £47 million to £55 million. It will release its annual results for the year ending June 30 on August 18.

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Deliveroo has hired Scilla Grimble as its new chief financial officer. Grimble, who is currently CFO at price comparison site MoneySupermarket.com, is expected to start no later than June 2023, the food delivery firm said. Deliveroo said Adam Miller will be stepping down as CFO on September 17, with David Hancock, currently vice president of Investor Relations, to serve as interim CFO. It gave no reason for Miller's departure. Moneysupermarket said a search for a new CFO is underway.

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Monday's shareholder meetings

Armadale Capital PLC - AGM

Bank of Georgia Group PLC - AGM

Globalworth Real Estate Investments Ltd - AGM

MetalNRG PLC - AGM

Midatech Pharma PLC - AGM

Silver Bullet Data Services Group PLC - GM re fundraise

Venture Life Group PLC - AGM

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