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Ladbrokes deal off; Moonpig confirms IPO; Wood partnership

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4.30pm: London slips lower

The FTSE 100 lost ground during the day to close the session 7.7 points lower at 6,712.95.

3pm: Transgender appointment

Incoming US president Joe Biden has named Dr Rachel Levine to serve as assistant US health secretary, making her the first openly transgender official to be confirmed by the Senate.

2pm: Entain withdraws Ladbrokes offer

Shares in Ladbrokes owner Entain fell as much as 17% after MGM withdrew its takeover offer.

The betting group, which also owns brands such as Coral, Bwin and Partypoker, had rejected an £8 billion bid from MGM, saying it “significantly undervalues the company”.

But MGM today said it would not submit a revised proposal and would not make a firm offer for Entain.

8.15am: London opens higher

The FTSE 100 was trading around 43 points higher at 6,763.44

7am: Moonpig IPO

Online greetings company Moonpig has confirmed its intention to float on the London stock exchange with a value of up to £1.2 billion.

Investment firms BlackRock and Dragoneer have already signed up for a total of £130 million worth of shares. Moonpig is chaired by former WH Smith boss Kate Swann and backed by Exponent Private Equity Partners, which owns a 41.3% stake.  

It is the second big IPO announced this week following bootmaker Dr Martens statement yesterday that it intends to float with a value expected to be about £3bn. Both listings are scheduled for February.

Moonpig claims to be among the top five largest florists in the UK with a 60% share of the online cards market in the UK and a 65% share in the Netherlands, where it trades as Greetz.

It posted underlying earnings of £44.4m in the year to April 30 on sales of £173.1m, up 44% year on year.

In the half-year to October 31, it saw sales jump 135% to £155.9m as consumers moved online.

Moonpig CEO Nickyl Raithatha said: “As leaders of a market undergoing an accelerating shift online, we’re delighted to bring Moonpig Group to the public market.

“As the market leading platform, with a strong track record, and a huge opportunity to grow, we are confident about our decision to become a publicly traded business.”

Moonpig Group has engaged Citigroup Global Markets and JP Morgan Securities as joint global co-ordinators, and HSBC Bank, Jefferies International and Numis Securities as joint bookrunners.

Wood in Morecambe Bay partnership

Wood, the Scottish engineering company, is partnering with Spirit Energy on managing the late life phase of the Morecambe Bay gas fields, one of the UK’s largest.

The five-year consolidated services contract is valued at $130 million.

Craig Shanaghey, Wood’s president of operations for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “Our shared ambition is to leverage the greatest value from the Morecambe Hub in its late life phase, by focusing on driving down operational costs and creating opportunities to extend field life.”

John Cowie, Morecambe hub asset director at Spirit Energy, said: “The Morecambe Hub has produced gas for the UK for more than 30 years.

“There is still more we can do to extend Morecambe’s field life while reducing its emissions and contribute to the UK’s Net Zero targets, and we look forward to working with Wood on both of these goals.”

The contract will employ approximately 130 people across the offshore assets and onshore terminal and a small support team in Aberdeen.

Markets

The FTSE 100 fell 15 points or 0.2% to 6,720.65 yesterday, but is predicted by spread-betters to bounce back with a 35-point gain.

Asian markets were higher overnight, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 2.2% and Japan’s Nikkei rising 1.4%. Wall Street was closed for a holiday.



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