May 15: Cable & Wireless’s proposed bonus scheme for top executives remains today’s most interesting story. The chairman, Richard Lapthorne, wants to put in place a scheme that allows his executives to make life-changing amounts of money and so enable C&W to compete for talent with the private equity industry. However, regardless of how demanding one thinks the targets are – and we are going through the details now – the scheme appears to offer private equity-style opportunities without private equity-style risks. The executives do not have to risk large amounts of their own money as they would have to in a buy-out.
AstraZeneca has confirmed it is buying Cambridge Antibody Technologies for £702m (although it already owns 20 per cent). Astra, which is desperate to boost its woeful pipeline, is paying a 67 per cent premium to the CAT share price on Friday. Astra shares are off less than 1 per cent.
Enodis shares are up almost 16 per cent after rejecting a takeover approach from Middleby of the US and putting out a strong set of first-half figures. Enodis shares are now at 203¾p – much higher than the 195p at which Middleby pitched its proposal. Middleby has said it is considering making a more formal offer. Meanwhile, other potential bidders – including Manitowoc and United Technologies – are watching things very closely.
Eurotunnel confirms it is in advanced talks with Goldman Sachs and Macquarie, and a group representing half the company’s creditors, about a refinancing plan. This would probably see the two banks underwrite a £1bn cash exit for creditors. Macquarie shares have been suspended in Sydney, although this may be unrelated.