Shares in Hammerson may be climbing after its failed £3.4billion bid for rival shopping mall operator Intu Properties – but calls for its board to step down are growing louder.
Analysts are cranking up the pressure on bosses – chief executive David Tyler in particular – to quit after the collapse of their bid to create a £21billion retail empire of more than 80 shopping centres.
The owner of the Bullring shopping mall in Birmingham was forced into an embarrassing U-turn after a shareholders’ revolt.
It follows Hammerson’s refusal to take a £5billion takeover approach from French rival Klepierre seriously, even though analysts said it was a better deal.
Hammerson, which owns the Bullring shopping mall in Birmingham (pictured) was forced into an embarrassing U-turn after a shareholders’ revolt
Hammerson’s board are now facing a ‘Martin Sorrell day of reckoning’, according to analysts, in a reference to the boss of advertising giant WPP who was last week forced to resign.
Mike Prew, an analyst at investment bank Jefferies, said: ‘The Intu deal was done to support earnings and dividend growth promises which they can’t fulfil. I think the whole board’s position is now untenable.’
In a note to investors, Jefferies upgraded Hammerson to ‘hold’ and increased its price target to 540p, from 400p. Separately, Barclays cut Intu to ‘underweight’ with a target price of 180p.
It added: ‘Intu shareholders are the clear losers in this situation in our opinion.’ Hammerson shares rose 1 per cent, or 5.2p, to 519.4p.
Stock Watch – RhythmOne
Shares in digital advertising firm RhythmOne took off after a ten-fold rise in earnings.
In a trading update, the Aim-listed stock revealed earnings rocketed from £980,000 to £9.8million, a 900 per cent increase, in the year ending March 31.
Revenue increased 71 per cent to £179million while it had cash reserves of around £18.2million.
Chief executive Ted Hastings says it is ‘well-positioned to deliver a further strong performance in the 2019 financial year’. Shares shot up 16.9 per cent, or 30p, to 208p.
The FTSE 100 nudged up 0.16 per cent, or 11.58 points, to 7328.92, while the FTSE 250 was up 0.68 per cent, or 135.15 points, at 20,147.16.
Rodent catcher Rentokil rose after reporting organic growth of 3.2 per cent in the first three months of the year, up from 3.1 per cent in the previous three. Shares hopped 4.5 per cent, or 12.3p, to 285.2p.
Industrial equipment rental group Ashtead slipped after it revealed plans to increase its North America footprint by 50 per cent.
In a trading update, the firm, which lets out drills, diggers, pumps and ventilation equipment, said its full-year results will be in line with expectations. Shares fell 1.6 per cent, or 33p, to 2069p.
You’d think that when it snows, people would go bowling. But that didn’t quite prove the case for Ten Entertainment which saw a 5.1 per cent increase in sales in the first quarter – but said it would have been more had it not been for the Beast from the East.
The tenpin bowling chain also revealed it had acquired two new sites, taking its total to 44. Shares ticked up 1.6 per cent, or 4p, to 260p.
On Aim, Purplebricks won backing from Investec in its battle to prove it is better than its rivals at selling homes. It once claimed nearly nine in ten of the homes listed on its website are sold within ten months, higher than the average.
But the figure was disputed by Jefferies, which said it was closer to five in ten.
Analysts at Investec, though, have ridden to the rescue of the online agent. It claims 76 per cent of people who list their properties with Purplebricks eventually sell it. Nearly nine in ten of these sell within six months, it adds.
Investec said: ‘We believe this supports our assertion that Purplebricks would not be taking such good market share and up to 1,600 new instructions per week this calendar year if it did not actually sell those properties.’ Shares ticked up 2.2 per cent, or 7.2p, to 332p.
Online fashion retailer Koovs, known as the ‘Asos of India’, has had a roller-coaster ride the past two days.
On Wednesday, its shares shot up 60 per cent before crashing back down to a 5 per cent gain at closing, as investors cashed in their profits. Shares dived a further 4.4 per cent, or 0.4p, to 8.75p yesterday.