Shareholders give Takeda’s £46bn Shire Plc (SHP) deal green light. Takeda chief Christophe Weber clinched Japan’s largest overseas takeover on Wednesday as shareholders approved the controversial $59 billion (£46 billion) swoop on UK drugmaker Shire. The Frenchman, a former rising star at GSK, said the debt-fuelled deal would create a “more competitive, agile, highly profitable, and therefore resilient company”. Around 12% of shareholders at a general meeting in Osaka voted against the proposal, which will make Takeda among the top 10 biggest drugmakers globally. Shire shareholders were also set to approve the deal at a vote today. The takeover has come under fire from some Takeda shareholders and relatives of Takeda’s founding family over the high debt levels.
Stagecoach Group (SGC) tries to hitch a ride out of American bus division. Stagecoach is looking to sell its north American buses business as it took an £85 million balance sheet hit on Wednesday due to bleaker growth prospects in the division. The buses and rail operator, which also owns about half of Virgin Trains in the UK, said it was in discussion about a potential sale of the unit, which operates across 30 states through the Coach USA and Coach Canada brands. The “strategic review” will examine a full or partial sale of the division, it said. Management took a non-cash impairment charge of £85.4 million based on future cashflow forecasts in America due to more intense competition there. The company, which has faced issues growing the Megabus brand in the US, was forced to revise long-term assumptions on growth rates after trading fell below its internal budget.
BT Group (BT.A) closes is on sale of historic central London HQ. BT is close to completing the sale of its historic central London HQ for around £220 million, the Evening Standard understands. The struggling telecoms firm appointed agents Cushman & Wakefield to handle the sale of the Newgate Street base next to St Paul’s Cathedral in the summer as part of plans to save £1.5 billion. The current headquarters stands on the site where Guglielmo Marconi made the first public transmission of wireless signals in 1896. The move will end BT’s association with the site stretching back more than a century. Market sources said the strong sale price — rumoured to be to a private Hong Kong buyer — reflected the scarcity of sizeable development sites in the City.
Ted Baker (TED) feels ‘hug-gate’ squeeze as brokers divide. The City was split over Ted Baker’s prospects on Wednesday after “hug-gate” caused the fashion brand’s value to fall by £198 million in three days. Analysts at HSBC downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy saying “uncertainty over leadership distracts from the core investment case” and there was “limited visibility as to when this will be resolved”. This means that instead of seven Buys and one Hold it now has six Buys and two Holds. No one yet rates it a Sell. Founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin has been accused of inappropriate behaviour to staff and there are fears he might have to step down. Ted Baker has commissioned an external investigation.
Patisserie Holdings (CAKE) – The crisis-stricken cake chain has drafted in a little-known finance chief a month after its predecessor resigned as the firm nearly went bust. Nick Perrin, the ex-finance director at veterinary specialist CVS, will be interim CFO. The company found a £40 million black hole in its accounts in October. Perrin will “help strengthen the team”, the firm said. He doesn’t have a seat on the Board. Shares are still suspended.
Taptica International (DI) (TAP) has also updated on its situation after its shares tumbled yesterday. This is a long story this one but investors should know the ins and outs. Yesterday it was announced chief executive Hagai Tal was stepping down after he was found liable yesterday for certain statements made in relation to the sale of Plimus in 2011 to private equity, where he was chief executive and a shareholder. Plimus was separate to Taptica which he set-up in 2014. Taptica has appointed Rivi Bloch as interim chief executive and its shares rose 6p at 197p.
finnCap (FCAP) – The stockbroker raised £3.8 million of new money for the company, with selling shareholders receiving another £1.3 million. After pricing its IPO at 28.00 pence per share, FinnCap was admitted to trading with 168.2 million shares in issue and a market capitalisation of £47.1 million. FinnCap was trading up 5.4% at 29.50p per share. In mid-November, FinnCap announced its intention to float in London, as part of its agreement to acquire Cavendish Corporate Finance, an independent mergers & acquisition adviser to the UK mid-market. The £3.8 million raised in the IPO will partially fund the acquisition.
The country casual fashion brand Joules Group (JOUL) today joined a growing number of businesses laying down concrete plans to cope with Brexit. Chief executive Colin Porter said: “Our biggest concern is consumer sentiment in unsettled times.” “We want to control what we can control and avoid the risk that we can foresee,” added finance chief Marc Dench. It will open a warehouse on the Continent, order some of its clothes and shoes sooner and try to keep a lid on currency costs. Underlying profits for the first half to November 25 will be higher than the £10.3 million analysts expected. Revenues leapt 17.6% to £113 million.