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Vodafone’s decision to restructure itself into three divisions has encouraged speculation that it might get further into the fixed-line business. The clue is in Vodafone’s announcement – it has set up a “new businesses and innovation unit” to “focus on converged and IP services”. Vodafone’s restructuring is a stepping stone to a more detailed strategic presentation by chief executive Arun Sarin next month. It points towards an admission by the group that the dream of a global mobile business, with all the cost and revenue synergies that was supposed to bring, is over. Vodafone will instead focus on particular regions it thinks it can do well in. Which is all very well, but it falls far short of a convincing – let alone exciting – investment case. The shares have barely moved today. Don’t assume this strategy will be enough to save Sarin.
House of Fraser shares are up almost 9 per cent in heavy trading. Blue Crest Capital Management has sold its 3.7 per cent in the group, which last month spurned a takeover approach, and it looks like there is some aggressive stake-building going on. This is worth keeping a close eye on.
Online gaming stocks are up very strongly today after opposition appeared to be growing in Washington to proposals aimed at curbing their business. PartyGaming is up 13 per cent. 888 Holdings and Sportingbet are up by similar amounts.