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March 13: London Stock Exchange shares jumped 27 per cent today in reaction to Nasdaq’s approach at 950p a share and hopes that the New York Stock Exchange would enter the bidding. News of Nasdaq’s approach came after the market had closed on Friday, so today was the first opportunity the market had to trade on it. The stock now stands above £11, which is eye-watering. But shouldn’t the LSE be thinking about doing the bidding itself, whether for Nasdaq or (better) Euronext? Euronext shares are up 8 per cent today.
We are continuing to dig away on Vodafone today, of course. The shares are up almost 4 per cent, so the rather unconvincing outbreak of boardroom unity over the weekend seems to have gone down well. Arun Sarin, chief executive, has somehow managed to out-manoeuvre the leaders of the ancien regime, but putting together a credible strategy to knit this group together will be much more important and – given Sarin’s record on strategy and communication – much harder. If you really have nothing better to do you can hear me discuss this further on this morning’s Today Programme (fast-forward to 6.15). And, for great background on Vodafone’s incoming chairman, Sir John Bond of HSBC, catch up with the profile of him, also on Radio 4, from Saturday afternoon.
Northern Foods looks in terrible shape after the group issued its second profit warning this year. Biscuit and pastry sales have been a disaster, profits are falling off a shelf and the group’s debts look uncomfortable. The dividend looks extremely vulnerable. The shares are off 20 per cent today but had already had a bad year. How long can chief executive Pat O’Driscoll hang on?
Candover,the private equity group, is handing £100m back to shareholders and has appointed Gerry Grimstone, the former senior Schroders banker, as its chairman to succeed Stephen Curran. Earlier this month, it was announced that Grimstone would also become deputy chairman of Standard Life.
MyTravel says it plans to pay a dividend again.
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