Things just go from bad to worse for Carphone Warehouse. Today it emerged that it is one of four companies being investigated by Ofcom for making silent calls. These occur when more automated marketing calls are made than there are call centre staff to handle them. The result is an uncomfortable silence for the recipient. Carphone and the other companies have a month to respond. Ofcom can fine them £5,000-£50,000 per contravention. The other companies are Toucan, Space Kitchens and Brakenbay Kitchens.
Informa shares have jumped after the publisher of Lloyd’s List said it had turned down a takeover approach at 630p a share in cash - almost 100p above this morning’s opening price. The approach was from Springer Science and Business Media, which is owned by Cinven and Candover.
And, as it’s Friday, check out this funny ad on hereisthecity.com. It features a clip of two traders having a punch up. Apart from the slogan at the end, the fact that none of their colleagues reacts is a bit of a giveaway. But as ads for futures and options indices go, it’s not at all bad.
Shares in Kazkommertsbank got off to an amazing start today, when conditional trading began (coincidentally on the same day that Borat opens in cinemas). Having priced at the top of the revised range, at $18.50, it shot up to $20.50. We’ll do more tonight on the debate within the City over how to price the risk and opportunity presented by the foreign companies listing in London and whether the rules are tight enough. It’s the big topic facing the London equity markets.
British Airways seems to have learnt its lesson from having sold Go to 3i too cheaply. Today it is selling its loss-making UK regional operations, BA Connect, to Flybe, the privately-owned UK low fares regional airline. It will take a write-down of £106m but is also taking a 15 per cent stake in Flybe, which plans to float in first half of 2008. At the same time, BA announced a 27 per cent fall in second-quarter pre-tax profits to £176m, partly because of the BA Connect write-down and also because of the £100m impact of this summer’s security disruptions. We’ll take a bit of a look at British regional airports and, conveniently, we also have Aer Lingus’s defence document today, so we should be able to put together a nice package.
British Sky Broadcasting beat market expectations by adding a net 82,000 subscribers in the three months to September, beating the consensus forecast figure of 60,000 and taking the total to 8.26m.
Rumour of the Day: Gallaher shares are flying again on talk of a bid from Altria.