We remain on LSE-watch again today, the last trading day before Nasdaq’s offer closes. This afternoon the shares are down 15p at £12.67, which is still above the £12.43 on offer from Nasdaq. The run rate is 3p an hour and, with only an hour and a half of trading to go, Nasdaq doesn’t look like it is going to make it. Volumes are pretty feeble, too. Shareholders have until lunchtime tomorrow to accept but at this rate that will be a formality. There is still a chance of a last-minute rush for the exit of course driving the price below the offer price, which could make tomorrow morning interesting, but there is no sign of it.
Interesting BP story: two pension funds will today demand that an Alaskan court should freeze £70m in pension fund and other benefits owed to Lord Browne, the company’s outgoing chief executive. The lawsuit has been filed by Bill Lerach, a California-based lawyer, on behalf of two shareholders.
As we wrote this morning, FirstGroup is to buy Laidlaw International, the company that runs the US’s iconic Greyhound bus service in an all-cash recommended deal for $3.6bn (£1.84bn). I think we can have some fun with that.
De La Rue, the world’s largest private producer of banknotes, said trading had been stronger than expected and it now expected full-year pre-tax profits to be “significantly ahead” of consensus forecasts of £90.7m. The shares are up 6 per cent.
HBOS has increased its ownership of Sainsbury’s Bank from 45 per cent to 50 per cent in a move which gives the two partners equal control of the lender. It isn’t clear yet whether this means yesterday’s rumour that HBOS will buy the 40 per cent of St James’s Place it doesn’t already own was wrong or whether that is still a possibility.