It would have been a shame if a day had gone by without a strong media story and so I’m grateful to Emap for news that its chief executive of the last four years, Tom Moloney, is leaving immediately “by mutual agreement”. What’s particularly odd is that he isn’t even sticking around for the group’s full-year results on Tuesday. Emap shares are up 6 per cent on speculation that a boardroom bust-up over strategy may lie behind Moloney’s departure and that a bid may be in the offing. Our media editor Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson looks at what it might mean for the group on FT.com. David Grigson, Reuters CFO and formerly Emap’s FD, is being touted as a possible successor and, as with any job going in this sector, so is Roger Parry.
Sir Christopher Bland’s last full-year results as chairman of BT are excellent. Not only did BT confirm plans to return £2.5bn to shareholders, six years after raising £5.9bn from shareholders in a rescue rights issue, but it is doing extremely well in broadband and global services. Otherwise, BT seems to be heading for a fight with the DTI over whether crown guarantees apply to its pension obligations. Tiscali of Italy, incidentally, confirms it is interested in buying Pipex.
Elsewhere in media, there is more bad news from ITV, which said ad revenues continue to fall, albeit less fast than before. Today is Michael Grade’s first ITV annual meeting as chairman. No news about whether Dawn Airey will join as chief exec.
Bridgewell’s life as a public company came to a pathetic end today after less than a year. The broker is selling out to Landsbanki, as we predicted, for 125p a share – 10 per cent below the float price. Most of the offer consists of Icelandic paper. Gotta laugh (unless you’re a shareholder).
And FT Alphaville, the Alpha and Omega of market news, have a scoop: they say JC Flowers (which, we explained last week, is interested in bidding for Friends Provident) has been talking to Standard Life about bidding together for the life assurer. They think Old Mutual might be interested as well.
Rumour of the day: British Airways shares are taking off on rumours of a private equity bid but it feels like the market is having a lazy reaction to the news that the private equity bid for Qantas is off so the buyers must be looking for a new target. HeidelbergCement now has 28 per cent of Hanson, so that’s it for any counter-bid hopes. The shares are off 2 per cent, back below the £11 offer price.