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June 14: Could Goldman Sachs be about to be outbid again? Macquarie put out a statement this evening saying it was part of a consortium considering making a cash bid for Associated British Ports. Only a few hours earlier, ABP had agreed to a 810p cash offer from a Goldman-led consortium. Australia’s Macquarie is working alongside 3i, the British private equity group, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Industry Funds Management. The consortium was rumoured to have been in the market earlier trying to pick up ABP stock through Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein at around 820p but it isn’t clear yet how they got on. ABP shares closed up 6 per cent at 826½p. It is less than a week since Goldman was outmanoeuvred by Ferrovial’s consortium in its attempt to buy BAA, the airports group. But don’t count them out from ABP yet: this bid clearly has further to run.
Vodafone’s annual report shows chief executive Arun Sarin received a pay increase despite the company reporting record losses, which some investors might find hard to swallow. In his farewell statement as chairman, Lord MacLaurin says he is “saddened” by “some of the media coverage and particularly by the suggestion of boardroom splits”. There never were any – of course.
We’ll do more on the great email we ran this morning from HSBC’s global head of equity research, who said that what his analysts produced was often “worthless”. We want to know what analysts and fund managers think: have your say through our online poll and discussion page. You can also read the email in full on FT.com.
Today is a bad one for John Weston, former chief executive of BAE Systems. He is non-executive chairman of both Isoft and Spirent. Isoft’s chief executive has had to resign after a series of problems at the software company. And Spirent has issued a profit warning, knocking its shares.
Aegis has seen off Vincent Bolloré at today’s annual meeting but by a narrower margin than expected. I haven’t seen the final numbers, but it looks like the company only got 47 per cent of the vote on the resolution on imposing his nominee directors. He also managed to use his 29 per cent to block two fairly standard resolutions. Carlos Grande, who was there, thinks we could be in for a long autumn campaign from Bolloré.
Tesco produced a slightly disappointing trading update, by its standards.
We’ll also do more on BAE Systems’ new pension deal, which we splashed on this morning. I’m particularly interested in the injection of property into the underfunded scheme, but there are other elements of the deal which may also have application elsewhere. Norma Cohen is on the case.
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