Shares in airline Flybe nosedived by more than a quarter after Stobart Group abandoned plans for a takeover that could have been worth more than £100million.
Stobart, the FTSE 250-listed owner of London Southend Airport, reached for the ejector button after failing to agree terms with Flybe.
The transport firm said it was not in shareholders’ interests to increase its bid for Flybe, Europe’s largest independent regional airline.
While both sides refuse to reveal the value of the bid, Flybe was worth £101.8million when the deal was first floated last month.
Takeover off: Shares in airline Flybe nosedived by more than a quarter after Stobart Group abandoned plans for a takeover that could have been worth more than £100m
The collapse is a major blow to Exeter-based Flybe which has been burdened by dwindling profits and soaring costs.
Plans to make a bid took off last month when Stobart revealed it was eyeing the airline, sending Flybe’s shares up by more than a third.
Stobart already has an agreement with the airline to operate flights in Ireland using the Flybe brand. Flybe’s board said it remained highly confident in the prospects of the firm and believed it had an ‘exciting future as an independent company’.
It plans to increase profit by slashing its fleet size and concentrate its efforts on flying the most profitable routes.
Flybe’s share price fell by 25.9 per cent, or 12.1p, to close at 34.6p last night, while Stobart’s dipped 4.1 per cent, or 9.5p, to 220p.
The FTSE 100 finished down 1.2 per cent, or 86.38 points, at a 15-month low of 6952.59 as the Bank of England held interest rates at 0.5 per cent.
Stockwatch – Cambridge Cognition
Shares in Cambridge Cognition dived as it swung into the red.
The neuroscience firm suffered a £280,000 loss in 2017, down from a profit of £200,000 the year before.
Revenues also fell, dipping from £6.9million in 2016 to £6.7m last year, while its cash balance plunged by 22 per cent to £1.86million.
Chief executive Steven Powell said he was confident the firm would return to profit.
Shares in the company slid 14 per cent, or 16p, to 97.5p.
In the US, the sell-off of big technology stocks continued, with Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet, the owner of Google, down more than 2 per cent.
But at home, small British technology companies put in a good showing. Talk of a £24million takeover of Vipera sent its shares up.
Vipera, which makes software for mobile banking apps, revealed Italian firm Sella Open Fintech Platform is mulling a bid.
However, both urged shareholders not to jump the gun.
A statement said: ‘The board of directors of Vipera and SOFP would like to emphasise that at this stage there can be no assurances that an offer will be made.’ Vipera’s shares leapt 12 per cent, or 0.75p, to 7p.
Shares in Quixant, which makes hardware for the gaming industry, bolted higher. Quixant reported a 29 per cent in pre-tax profit to £10.6million in 2017 while revenue was up 21 per cent to £77.4million.
It shipped 52,000 gaming platforms last year, up from 41,000 in 2016. Shares rose 8.6 per cent, or 32.5p, to 411.5p.
However, it was another tough day for Micro Focus, Britain’s biggest tech company.
Ratings agency Moody’s downgraded the firm’s outlook to ‘negative’ due to heightened uncertainty over revenue after Micro Focus issued a warning about its revenues on Monday.
Its shares fell another 6.3 per cent ,or 60.8p, to 911.8p, and more than £4.2billion has been wiped off the company’s value this week.
The craze for cryptocurrencies has driven IG Group to record revenue of £152.9million for the three months to February 28, an increase of 30 per cent annually.
Bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrency trading accounted for 11pc of revenue, compared to 1pc in the same period of 2017.
However, trades have ‘slowed markedly’ since the end of January. Its shares hopped up 2.9 per cent, or 23.5p, to 841p.
A contract with fashion retailer Primark sent shares in recruitment firm Parity Group fizzing.
Parity will provide Primark with IT staff as the retailer looks to upgrade its IT systems. The deal is expected to be worth £20million-£25million over three years. Parity shares rose 7.1 per cent, or 0.8p, to 12.05p.