Morning Financial Press Review 09/10/19
Paul Kettle
AM Press Round-Up -3 min read
06:31, 9th October 2019

Below are the key morning press headlines, featuring the The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail & more - see the full Press section here.

Vodafone Group (VOD) FOLLOW is to open bigger shops in a vote of confidence in Britain’s high streets. The telecoms giant, which has 20m mobile customers in the UK, will open 24 stores this year and has vowed to open another 50 in 2020. Expansion in the UK comes despite overall plans to slash more than 1,000 of its 7,700 shops across Europe. Nick Read, chief executive of Vodafone, said the company needed to improve its shops to keep up with Amazon and Apple. Many new stores will have spacious designs and focus on ‘experiences’, taking inspiration from those made famous by iPhone maker Apple.

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE)FOLLOW  investors are attempting to kick start a bidding war for the London bourse following a decision by its Hong Kong rival to abandon a shock £32bn takeover raid. Top LSE shareholders are pushing other global exchanges, including the US Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), to mount a last-ditch bid for the company which could scupper its own plans for a £22bn takeover of data business Refinitiv.

Two of Britain’s biggest recruitment companies have warned that uncertainty created by Brexit, protests in Hong Kong and the US-China trade dispute will hit their profits this year. Pagegroup (PAGE)  FOLLOWsaid rising fears about Brexit had made companies less willing to hire workers and potential candidates wary about moving jobs. It said uncertainty had affected the market for jobs at all levels. Its rival Robert Walters (RWA) FOLLOW predicted no increase in profit this year.

Aston Martin Holdings (AML) FOLLOW still has too few independent board members to meet City rules, more than a year after its disastrous £4.3bn stock market float. The troubled luxury car maker denied on Tuesday that it is struggling to find a suitable candidate to join its board as an independent director. A new hire is needed for Aston to comply with a Corporate Governance Code rule that at least half its board, excluding the chairman, should be made up of independent non-executives. The failure is the latest problem to hit the marque made famous by James Bond. It has seen three-quarters of its value go up in smoke after shock profit warnings and heavy losses since listing October

easyJet (EZJ)  FOLLOWhas failed to fully capitalise on turmoil facing its rivals, dashing hopes of a surge in profits. Strikes suffered by the likes of British Airways and Ryanair did help the Luton-based carrier, meaning its profit was close to the top end of what analysts were expecting. But investors were unimpressed. James Goodall, an analyst at Redburn, said: “Investors were hoping for a larger upgrade. “This didn’t happen because of the rising one-off costs in the quarter from fuel and foreign currency.” EasyJet said full-year profit will be between £420m and £430m for 2019.

Four new directors have been appointed to bolster a turnaround plan at Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) FOLLOW food business before its tie-up with Ocado. Last week M&S told investors and analysts that changes in its food division were focused on its aim to “protect the magic and modernise the rest”. Analysts at Berenberg, the investment bank, said that there were “green shoots” within M&S’s food business, while clothing continued to struggle. Pav Anand, Tesco’s strategy director, becomes head of food strategy and special products. Lisa Raschia, Sainsbury’s head of technical, joins as head of produce and horticulture as M&S strives to improve its fresh foods. M&S is also adding David Stokes, supply chain director at Danish Crown, as its head of sourcing and Laurissa Kuligowski from PWC as its commercial strategy and operations manager. They will report to George Wright, who joined from Tesco in April.

Sir Martin Sorrell’s digital advertising agency has made its first move in the United States by acquiring Firewood, the largest marketing agency in Silicon Valley. The purchase is the latest in a series of acquisitions by S4 Capital (SFOR) FOLLOW since it was set up by Sir Martin in May last year. S4 Capital bought the San Francisco-based Firewood for $150 million, paying $112 million up front in an equal mix of shares and cash, with the remainder due if Firewood hits its operating targets for the year. It plans to finance the deal by raising £100 million of equity, with the rest of the funds being used for further acquisitions.

Disclaimer & Declaration of Interest

The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.

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