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Stagecoach bid deadline set | THG founder cancels special share


5.10pm: New energy suppliers

Ofgem has appointed Shell Energy Retail to take on supplying Pure Planet Limited, Daligas and Colorado Energy’s combined total of approximately 252,000 domestic customers and around 600 non-domestic customers following the collapse of all three energy suppliers last week.

Earlier, it was announced that GOTO Energy has announced it is ceasing to trade. GOTO Energy (UK) supplies gas and electricity to around 22,000 domestic customers.

5pm: BT hit by rival offer

BT Group closed 2% down after Virgin Media O2 launched its first joint product since being formed in a £31 billion merger earlier this year to take on the former state monopoly. The firm is hoping its Volt offering will lure new customers.

London stocks traded mostly lower as investors digested weak Chinese economic data and the prospect of higher inflation.

Investors were concerned that recovery in the world’s second biggest economy is losing steam, as GDP figures missed their target.

The FTSE 100 index closed down 30.20 points at 7,203.83. The FTSE 250 was just 0.1% lower.

Among other London stocks, THG closed up 20% after the Manchester-based online retail platform sought to rebuild investor confidence, after a disastrous capital markets day early last week resulted in a 34.75% plunge in the share price.

Founder & CEO Matthew Moulding, “in furtherance of good corporate governance”, plans to cancel his golden share which allowed him to veto any takeover bid for three years. Sir Tom Hunter is a minority shareholder.

National Grid closed up 1% after the power lines operator said it was continuing to perform in line with expectations

But the travel sector was a laggard with British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group down 3.9%, and propping up the FTSE 100 index. In the FTSE 250 easyJet was down 2.7%.

Playtech closed the day as the standout FTSE 250 performer, up 58% at 677p, after the gambling software firm said it has agreed to a £2.1 billion takeover by Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure.

11am: Miners keep blue chips steady

The blue chip FTSE 100 index is being held back from a steeper fall by the strength of miners and commodities firms, including Evraz, 13p (2%) at 631p.

There has been some respite for shareholders in the online retail group THG following last week’s collapse in the price.

The shares, which peaked at 780p at the end of last year but fell 35% in one day last week, ticked up 8.1% at 312.8p after founder Matthew Goulding confirmed he was cancelling his special share in the company in which Sir Tom Hunter has a £40m stake.

The consolidation of the gambling sector continues with Playtech soaring by 56% to 668p after the board of the supplier of gaming content and technology recommended shareholders accept a 680p per share cash offer from Aristocrat Leisure

9am: Amazon tax in pipeline

The Chancellor is said to be working on plans for an ‘Amazon tax’ that would help bricks-and-mortar high street stores.

It comes after businesses were left disappointed by reports that Rishi Sunak has delayed a radical overhaul of the business rates system.

7am: Deadline for Stagecoach talks

Sir Brian Souter

National Express has been told by the Takeover Panel to decide by 16 November whether it intends to make an offer for rival transport group Stagecoach.

The two companies announced on 21 September that they were in discussions in relation to a possible all-share combination.

In a statement today, Stagecoach, co-founded by Sir Brian Souter (pictured), said: “Discussions between Stagecoach and National Express have continued, with respective management teams and advisers working constructively to progress reciprocal due diligence.”

7am: THG founder relinquishes special share

THG, the e-commerce retailer and tech firm whose shares crashed last week, has confirmed weekend reports that founder Matthew Moulding, CEO, will cancel his special share rights.  

This will help the group’s step-up to the premium segment of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange in 2022.

He said: “After the anniversary of our 2020 listing we feel that the time is right to make this next step and apply to the premium segment in 2022, thereby continuing the development of THG as we endeavour to deliver our strategy for the benefit of our shareholders, key stakeholders and employees.”  

Global markets

Asian equities opened the week in subdued mood after disappointing data from China indicated a slowing in GDP growth, coming in at 4.9% on-year against expectations of a 5.2% hike.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 index is 0.2% lower. In China, the Shanghai Composite is 0.4% lower, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is down 0.5%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 0.3%.

London’s blue-chip index was expected to open lower after closing on Friday at 26.32 points higher at 7,234.03.

Brent oil was quoted at $85.80 a barrel early today, improved from $84.73 late Friday.

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