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Cantor Index reckons Mike Ashley will have to price Sports Direct at the bottom of the range when it floats later this month, and may even have to lower the range. We’ll see where Cantor’s price ends up later today. Ashley said this week he would offer shares at 250p-310p. Cantor thinks 248p-255p is more like it. Tom Braithwaite has got his calculator out for us and is doing his own sums.

We’re also working up some interesting stuff on Felix Dennis, Scottish whisky and private equity. In fact, we’ll have lots of very good news, interviews and analysis across tomorrow’s paper on the private-equity-good-or-evil? debate. In the meantime, though, it’s really worth reading today’s piece by Michael Gordon of Fidelity International, arguing that the returns from private equity aren’t all they seem, and the piece by Phil Yea of 3i in defence of the industry. Also, thank you to John Anderson for an interesting posting on this blog.

Today, we have good figures from Go-Ahead, the bus and rail operator. Pre-tax profits rose more than 14 per cent in the first half, driven by improved margins from bus operations, the effect of acquisitions and higher volumes at its two rail franchises

We have a reasonably upbeat trading statement from Compass, together with news that Sir James Crosby is joining the board as a non-executive (earlier this week he was made the SID at ITV), as is AA chief exec Tim Parker.

Aim-listed African Platinum, founded by former England cricketer Phil Edmonds, has agreed a £297m takeover from Impala Platinum of South Africa. Unfortunately for Edmonds, I think he sold out completely at the end of last year.

Neteller, the online payments company, is cutting 250 jobs, most of them in Canada. This follows its withdrawal from the US market. And Universal Salvage says its 200p a share takeover talks have broken down.

Inter Link Foods shares are down 25 per cent after the ambient foods group said it would report a loss for the year because of unspecified one-off costs. The company had been expected to make an £8m profit. The statement is thin on detail, which may be why the market is so spooked.

Rumour of the day: There is talk that L’Oreal might be looking to be for SSL International, and that HBOS might be preparing a bid for Bradford & Bingley. It is Friday, after all.

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