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April 21: Michael Spencer has played a blinder for Icap, winning the bitterly contested auction for EBS, the foreign exchange and commodities platform owned by a group of banks. This makes Icap the world’s largest currency dealer and investors love the deal: Icap shares are up more than 11 per cent. The group is paying $775m, which represents about 16 times EBS’s latest earnings. This looks low compared with Icap’s own multiple and those of US brokers. Icap is part-funding the deal through the issue of shares. For some fun stuff about Spencer’s latest birthday party and his taste in art, go to citybonus.blogspot.com.
Wyevale Garden Centres has confirmed this morning’s story about Sir Tom Hunter’s agreed 555p a share cash offer, valuing it at £311m. Sir Tom’s consortium includes Baugur, the Icelandic group. The shares remain below the offer price at 549½p. Go to thebillies.photopage.com for pictures of Kim Wilde opening a Wyevale garden centre in Swansea.
WPP says advertising business in the Middle East is booming. It published its Q1 trading update and Sir Martin Sorrell said he was still interested in Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis. Watch and read about his thoughts on the challenge from Google at blogs.reuters.com and editorsweblog.org.
The Telegraph says the Goldman Sachs-led consortium has made a fresh attempt to buy Associated British Ports, lifting its proposed offer to 775p a share from 730p, which was rejected last month. The market is sceptical – the shares are up only 2½p at 734p – but I’m inclined to believe the piece.
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