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Strong-arm tactics from the new CEO at Misys, Mike Lawrie, after what he described as an “unacceptable” performance from its healthcare software business. Howard Evans, finance director, is to leave at the end of the year, while Tom Skelton, head of healthcare, has quit the board and Jasper McMahon, corporate development director, has also left with immediate effect. Skelton was one of the execs offered options worth up to £1.2m in 2005 in order to try to keep him, although that deal was shot down by shareholders. Today’s moves come three months after founder and chief executive Kevin Lomax was replaced by Lawrie. He is a former partner of ValueAct Capital, the investment group which has built up a 9.5 per cent of Misys and got one of its executives on to the board. Misys, which also published interim results today, saw its shares rise 5 per cent this morning.
The LSE says it will borrow £250m and give it to its shareholders through buy-backs. This is the central plank of its second and final defence document, which also includes a forecast of dramatically increased trading volumes. The LSE also rather brazenly dismisses the threat posed by Mifid and Project Turquoise (the investment banks’ rival exchange). Nothing radical here, though. The LSE shares remain stubbornly above Nasdaq’s £12.43 offer price, rising 4p to £13.15 this morning.
Strong trading update from Kesa, the retailer which owns Comet. Like-for-like sales rose 6.4 per cent between November 1 2006 and January 8. This is in sharp contrast to Currys yesterday,which managed to lift like-for-likes just 1 per cent.
Neteller, the electronic payments group that services online gaming sites, is quitting the US, axing 65 per cent of its business. What took them so long? This comes after its two founders were charged this week with handling illegal gambling proceeds.
We are also checking a story on Reuters that Standard Chartered is close to buying Oyakbank in Turkey and might need to issue shares to fund the deal. As Jane Croft wrote last month, last year it participated in the auction of a controlling stake in Denizbank of Turkey but lost out to Dexia of Belgium.
Also, this morning’s Teesland story, confirmed today, is startling. Teesland’s chairman is withdrawing the contracts his private company has with Teesland and has appointed key Teesland executives to his private company’s board to put pressure on Polygon to accept his buy-out offer. We’ll try to get you some reaction from shareholders and independent directors, in addition to Teesland’s statement.