The index of the UK’s leading shares drifted 11.2 points or 0.16% in early trading, with broadcaster Sky (SKY) leading the fallers. The company slipped 4.3% to 912.7p on paying £4.1 billion to show Premier League football for another three years. This is 83% more than it handed over three years ago for the rights. Telecom and broadcaster BT (BT.A), however, improved 2.7% to 456.2p on spending £960 million for two of the broadcast packages.
Bookmaker William Hill (WMH) rises 2.6% to 387p as the market reacts positively to yesterday’s confirmation it is in talks to acquire online gambling company 888 (888) for £750 million. 888, whose shares spiked 28% yesterday to 185.7p, is up by 0.9% this morning to 173p.
Discount retailer Poundland (PLND) falls 5.5% to 393.8p after private equity investor Warburg Pincus reduced its holding, selling 35 million shares at 405p each. It is left with a 16.4% stake. Click here to read our recent Plays of the Week story on Poundland.
Emergency boiler repair outfit Homeserve (HSV) falls 0.4% to 334p on an in-line trading statement. Chief executive Richard Harpin reports solid customer retention in the UK and growth in the international division.
Troubled platinum producer Lonmin (LMI) slumps 5.5% to 163p after 23.9% owner Glencore (GLEN) said it would get rid of its entire stake. The FTSE 100 commodities giant will give the Lonmin shares free to its shareholders. Given that Lonmin – once a FTSE 100 constituent itself – has struggled operationally and financially, the market clearly reckons Glencore shareholders will sell their Lonmin stock as soon as possible.
DP Poland (DPP:AIM), the Domino's Pizza (DOM) franchise in Poland, soars 25.7% to 11.6p on an 18% increase in like-for-like gross profit for the year ending December 2014. Like-for-like system sales are up 19%, the ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, and the group is targeting 'significant' store openings in 2015.
Portable hotels group Snoozebox (ZZZ:AIM) adds 1.7% to 7.6p on an encouraging pre-close trading statement. Revenues for 2014 set to be £0.2 million ahead of consensus at £2.8 million. The business is expected to generate an EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) loss in line with expectations of £3.5 million. Management is accelerating its entry into Europe which it says positions it for profitable growth in 2016.
Southeast Europe-focused real estate company Secure Property Development & Investment’s (SPDI:AIM) plans to sell €10 million worth of shares sees the stock dive 12.7% to 27.5p. At 25p a share the offer is 20.6% discounted.
ValiRx (VAL:AIM) is one of the largest climbers in early trading rising 16.6% to 0.2p on securing the European patent for using biomarker testing to diagnose and monitor sufferers of B-cell lymphomas, a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.