UK mobile giant Vodafone (VOD) has confirmed talks over potentially buying Germany's biggest cable operator, Kabel Deutschland (KD8Gn:DE). Vodafone has been stalking Kabel for several months, eyeing the prospect of bolstering its network infrastructure to better handle the deluge of data that mobile users demand from smartphones and tablets. The market fears a deal could be expensive with the threat of overpaying sending Vodafone tumbling nearly 4.5% to 183.55p.
Analysts see synergy benefits from shifting Vodafone's mobile customers to faster and significantly more robust cable networks, the reason behind last year's £1 billion acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide. But it could also signal an early switch into the triple-play space, allowing the mobile giant to offer TV services as part of calls and text bundles.
The passing of a buyout deadline on water utility Severn Trent (SVT) yesterday evening has opened the floodgates for sellers, the shares crashing 8.2% to £17.78. That's 19% off the £22 per share offered by Borealis that was thrown back in its face by Severn Trent management. Borealis is now barred from returning to the negotiating table for six months.
Global online fashion store ASOS (ASC:AIM) continues to impress the market with today’s trading update pushing the stock 3% higher to £41. A tie-up with Primark provides further reason to stay bullish, as we discuss here.
Sainsbury's (SBRY), the UK's third biggest supermarkets operator, edged ahead 0.8% to 365.6p on a solid first quarter trading statement. Over the 12 weeks to 8 June, like-for-like sales (stripping out fuel) were up 0.8%, a sharp slowdown from the 3.6% growth seen in the fourth quarter. Yet this performance, delivered against tough comparative numbers still represented a 34th quarter of like-for-like growth. It also shows a healthy performance given sales declines posted by rivals.
A better-than-expected net cash position and generous 33% rise in the dividend has helped to stabilise the falling share price in Hyder Consulting (HYC). The infrastructure specialist initially rose 3.5% to 435p, helped by comments from Liberum Capital that it could be a takeover target given its 'strong strategic positions' with a bid price of 583p, based on average sector takeout multiples. By midday, the stock had lost its gains to stay flat at 420p.
Telford Homes (TEF) rose 1.6% to 256p after the housebuilder unveiled plans to raise £20 million via a share placing to speed-up developments in the capital’s booming housing market. Telford aims to acquire more sites and ramp up construction on its current development pipeline of 2,260 homes to meet growing demand.
Clever set-top box developer Amino Technologies (AMO:AIM) edged up 0.5p to 85p after winning a contract with a major, but unnamed, telecoms operator in southern Europe. The deal will see Amino, alongside partner Intracom, deliver HD-ready boxes for internet protocol TV (IPTV) and on-demand services.
Ukrainian energy firm JKX Oil & Gas (JKX:AIM) ticked up 2.7% at 56.7p after the company confirmed the re-election of chief executive officer Paul Davies at last week's AGM (5 Jun) would have been secured even if the legally-disputed votes of the Eclairs and Glengary groups were counted. This block, which accounts for 40% of the company, represents the interests of Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky and Russian businessman Alexander Zhukov who had been looking to remove Davies.
Berkeley Mineral Resources (BMR:AIM) advanced 2.1% to 2.42p after buying a copper processing plant. The equipment will be used to process material at its Kabwe project in Zambia. The development costs including the purchase price have been pegged at £1 million with production scheduled to begin in the third quarter of the year.
Time is running out to match first-half expectations for lifecycle management software microcap Sopheon (SPE:AIM). The company admitted that it must pull out the stops to hit licence targets before the end of the month, but investors are currently overlooking the ticking clock, concentrating on an expanded sales force and rising recurring revenues, judging by the 2.3% rise to 5.5p.
Explorer Enegi Oil (ENEG:AIM) gushed up 4.4% to 8.6p after agreeing a letter of intent with private Canadian firm Black Spruce Exploration ahead of an expected farm-out of its Newfoundland assets next month. In return for drilling up to 12 new wells across this acreage, Black Spruce can earn a 60% working interest.
Peru-based ethanol producer Maple Energy (MPLE:AIM) sank 15.1% to 36.5p after a profit warning. The group revealed an increase in costs from a range of $1.32 to $1.42 per gallon of ethanol produced to between $1.60 and $1.70 – largely because of a worse-than-expected sugar cane harvest.