The Qataris have bought another £730m worth of Sainsbury shares, taking their stake, already the largest, up from 17.6 per cent to 25 per cent. What they’re up to, truthfully, we’re not quite sure, although the shares are up 5 per cent. They don’t exactly look passive, yet nor do they seem to be plotting a takeover. Robert Tchenguiz, who had 5 per cent but we think now has nearer 9 per cent, knows the Qataris well but says he is not working with them. As to who the seller(s) was, lots of people say Brandes but we’re not sure yet. The family seems not to have sold. If you want to know more, you can watch Tom Braithwaite’s video analysis or read FT Alphaville’s thoughts. Big story – more to come.
Otherwise, Cadbury Schweppes could face an unlimited fine after pleading guilty to charges of selling unsafe chocolate in Britain and Ireland in a case brought by Birmingham City Council. This follows on from its salmonella problems. Now Herefordshire wants to have a go.
If you were in any doubt about the crazy days we live in, check out Phorm (or 121Media as it used to be called). This online ads company is placing shares with investors – at a premium to the market price. And the shares, which jumped yesterday, are up strongly again today.
The other big event today is the Birthday Honours list, which usually contains a smattering of business figures. Unfortunately, it’s embargoed until tomorrow, so you’ll just have to buy the paper.
We also have Sanctuary Group, the music company which manages Elton John, finally being put out of its misery. It has agreed to be taken over by Centenary Music in a deal that values it at about £44.5m.