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November 29: P&O has agreed to be bought by Dubai’s DP World for £3.3bn in cash, or 443p a share. This is a price shareholders have not seen for about five years, so they should be very pleased. It represents a 46 per cent premium to where the stock was just before the story leaked a month ago, and is more than 24 times last year’s earnings. The deal is, of course, much as we expected. Nevertheless, I think we have a strong, fresh, news line to go with. We’ll also look tomorrow at the history of this great company and what might happen to it now, both in its ports division and its ferries division. Does it matter that such a proud part of Britain’s imperial heritage should be sold to a foreign group? Read Lex now.
Believe it or not, there is an interesting story about Brambles, which specialises in pallets and waste management. The group plans to sell about half its business which will give it just over £1bn to hand back to shareholders. It will sell its waste management business and an operation which provides support services to steelmakers and miners. It will focus instead on pallets and document storage. With the stock up sharply today, this could propel this dual-listed company (the result of GKN’s industrial services business 2001 merger with the existing Brambles business) into the FTSE 100 index, but only briefly as the end result could well be a new company with only a secondary listing in London and a primary one in Sydney. Let Lex be your guide or feast yourself on these pictures.
Barclays says charges for failure to repay debts in its Barclaycard division continued to rise in the third quarter but confirmed it was “comfortable” with consensus expectations for full-year earnings. The stock is off a touch.
We also have an exclusive interview with Richard Murley, the outgoing director general of the Takeover Panel. Instead of returning to Goldman Sachs, he is joining Rothschild. He looks back on his time in charge with Clay Harris.
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