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NTL is offering 323p a share in cash or 0.09298 of its shares for each Virgin one held. This is only marginally higher than the 311p at which Virgin closed on Friday yet the stock is up at 341p this afternoon. You can read the precise terms, FT.com’s first take or Lex now. Let’s hope NTL makes lighter work of merging with Virgin than it has done with Telewest.
The fact that BSkyB shares are off 3 per cent suggests its investors are worried by the threat from the so-called quadruple-play proposed by Virgin/NTL - where fixed line and mobile telephony are bundled with television and broadband. However, I can’t help doubting how much demand there really is for these sort of packages. The experience of the financial services industry and others suggests that aggregation obscures pricing and discourages people from changing service-providers. The attraction of this to the companies selling the services is obvious but won’t customers eventually militate against it?
The prospects of a bidding war have improved at Reg Vardy. Lookers, a rival car dealership group which says it is still interested in bidding despite Pendragon raising its existing 750p offer to 800p and obtaining a recommendation today.
No more news yet from P&O, which soared on Friday after it emerged that Temasek has been buying stock. We should hear later exactly how close to 5 per cent they got on Friday. Doubts over whether the Singaporean state investment vehicle will launch a counterbid to DP World’s have knocked almost 5 per cent off P&O today. Read Lex.
We think we have a fresh angle on the risks posed by a number of companies from the former Soviet Union listing on the London market. In Saturday’s paper we wrote about some of the more interesting highlights of Novoliptesk’s prospectus and today John Plender drew attention one or two corporate governance issues at Kazakhmys.
In addition, we have figures from Aberdeen Asset Management, confirmation of Sanctuary’s fund raising and desperate straits, and confirmation from PD Ports that it has received a second takeover approach (no name, but thought to be Babcock & Brown).
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