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March 17: Ferrovial of Spain has put in a takeover proposal for BAA, the group which owns Gatwick and Heathrow. It put forward 810p a share, which is 27 per cent higher than the undisturbed share price but below what the stock was trading at in the market. As a result, the shares are off 14p at 825p. The big question is whether Macquarie will wade in but the market does not seem to be holding out much hope of that. Ferrovial’s proposal, which values BAA at £8.75bn, is backed by the unlikely bedfellows of GIC Special Investments, a Singapore state investment vehicle, and Caisse de depot et de placement du Quebec.
Vodafone has sold its Japanese business to Softbank, two weeks after saying it was in talks. Shareholders will receive £6bn, which is slightly more than they had expected. However, to get the deal done, Vodafone has had to snub private equity houses who were putting together rival bids and has had put up about £2bn worth of vendor finance to ease the deal. Vodafone will also take an impairment charge of about £5bn.
Body Shop has confirmed our story from this morning: L’Oréal is taking it over for 300p a share in cash – the top end of what the market expected – but you have to feel a little sorry for L’Oréal investors: details about the financial benefits were thin on the ground at this morning’s press conference. We’ll do plenty on this for Saturday, including a look at how these two very different companies will co-exist and at the stormy relationship the Roddicks have had with the City.
Takeover talks between House of Fraser and Apax are off. This knocked 10 per cent off the stock.
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