Is the mooted tie-up between AG Barr (BAG) and Britvic (BVIC) doomed? The Competition Commission has provisionally cleared the potential merger on the grounds it is unlikely to substantially lessen competition. A final decision is expected by the end of July yet Britvic's shares have today fallen 1.1% to 495.1p after the group made some odd comments. Britvic's chairman Gerald Corbett said the group is in 'a different place to last summer when the terms of the merger were agreed', citing lower potential cost savings, new management and a new growth strategy. This would suggest the two parties are unlikely to agree a deal.
Online grocer Ocado (OCDO), which last month announced a technology, logistics and distribution services tie-up with Morrisons (MRW), jumped 10% to 342.5p on vague whispers Amazon (AMZN:NASDAQ) may be lining up a takeover bid.
Investors may have breathed a sigh of relief that Vianet (VNET:AIM) hasn’t cut its dividend following February’s profit warning, yet there remain significant risks hanging over the group, as we discuss in detail here. Its core pubs monitoring business faces the threat of UK government intervention and there’s no guarantee that a large delayed contract in its vending arm will actually go ahead. The market is clearly worried about the contents of today's full-year results, sending the shares down 9.6% to 80.5p.
Specialty chemicals group Carclo (CAR) slid 4.7% to 371.5p after full-year results revealed a 7.2% fall in revenue to £86.5 million. Yet net debt nearly halved to £9.2 million while the total dividend increased by 6.3% to 2.55p per share. Read our recent Plays of the Week article on Carclo.
Elsewhere in the heavy construction sub-sector Keller (KLR) added 5.9% to 960p after the £580.5 million cap bought Canadian groundworks specialist North American Energy Partners in a deal worth up to £202 million. Keller will part-fund the acquisition through its existing debt facilities as well as issuing new shares at 890p.
Scientific kit manufacturer Oxford Instruments (OXIG) is under pressure, as predicted by Shares, leaving its stock down 6.4% at £14.67. New business is proving tough to win and Oxford is relying on driving efficiency from its 14-cubed scheme.
News of a major licence win failed to spark Imagination Technologies (IMG), which slumped 4.6% to 319.2p. The deal is with Japanese electronics group Toshiba (6502:T), a coup in itself, but still very much for its graphics technology rather than processor power market targeted by Imagination.
Speech recognition and payments technology microcap Eckoh Technologies (ECK:AIM) has snapped up payments verification/compliance specialist Veritape in a £6.3 million cash and shares deal. The implied cross-selling opportunities offset limited growth last year, driving Eckoh 4.8% up to 16.25p.
Russian oil explorer Matra Petroleum (MTA:AIM) shot up 24.7% to 1.06p after announcing it would sell its 100% stake in the Arkhangelovskoe licence for up to $35 million.
New Zealand focused Kea Petroleum (KEA:AIM) fell 15.3% to 4.66p after new data suggested its Puka-2 well could not be expected to sustain the flow of oil at high levels.