Misys provides us with one of our best stories today. Kevin Lomax’s failed MBO talks this summer turn out to have been mighty expensive. The group says it paid Lomax £1.1m when he stepped down as chief executive in October after the MBO talks failed. It also took a non-cash accounting charge of £400,000 relating to his share option entitlements. There’s more. Those failed MBO talks cost the company £4m and it emerged today that the distraction has weighed heavily on the already struggling heathcare division.
Japan Tobacco’s deal with Gallaher came quicker than we expected. I was digging myself in for a re-run of Nippon Sheet Glass’s eternal pursuit of Pilkington but no need: JT said this morning it had agreed to buy the maker of Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges for £7.5bn, or £11.40 a share. And the fact that Gallaher’s shares are barely above that price (at £11.49) suggests the market thinks the chances of a rival bidder coming in now are slim.
One of the things we’re doing today is a profile of Samir Brikho, the new CEO of Amec who delivered such a virtuoso performance to analysts this week. He doesn’t sound very keen to be interviewed. Maybe he’ll change his mind later but we’ll press ahead anyway. Investors need to know more about this man who is promising shock treatment for Amec and who, as head of one of ABB’s troubled divisions, turned a $300m loss into a $40m profit in 18 months.
Centrica, the parent group of British Gas, plans to cut prices for its residential customers in the spring, following falls in wholesale gas prices and the loss of almost 1m customers this year.
The Daily Mail says UBS and Polygon, the US hedge fund, are trying to buy Newcastle United football club FOR £140m The club is denying it, but we’re not so sure – the Mail’s story has a credible ring to it.
Rumour of the Day: JJB Sports shares are up about 2 per cent on fresh takeover rumours, says Neil Hume on our markets desk. Anything to do with Mike Ashley perhaps?