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February 23: Reuters shares fell 10 per cent this morning after the group disappointed investors with an outlook statement that was less promising than they had hoped. The company, whose annual profits were fine, predicted 5 per cent sales growth this year. This, investors expected, but it includes revenues from acquisitions, which they did not. It looks, therefore, like Reuters is struggling to make as much as it should out of what is a fantastic banking market. So far, investors are telling us they haven’t given up on chief executive Tom Glocer but I can’t believe he isn’t coming under some pressure. We’re planning a sizeable package on this for tomorrow and you can read Lex online now.
Body Shop, whose shares have been rising all week on takeover speculation, jumped another 10 per cent today after L’Oréal admitted it was considering making a cash offer for the chain. L’Oréal said it had not yet approached Body Shop. The Roddicks still own 18 per cent and Ian McGlinn, one of their early backers, has 21 per cent.
Hilton is returning £4.2bn to shareholders after the sale of its hotels business, which is a bit more than people had expected. The group, which also published decent full-year results today, said it did not want to sell its Ladbrokes betting chain but instead wanted to expand its online gaming business internationally. Analysts, however, sounded bored by the management’s presentation. The stock is off a touch.
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