As the bell rang for the close of the market last night, another British technology company revealed it was being preyed on by a foreign firm.
Satellite pioneer Inmarsat has rejected a £2.1billion takeover bid from US billionaire Charlie Ergen’s Echostar Corporation.
Directors said the ‘highly preliminary’ bid significantly undervalued the technology leader and its prospects as a stand-alone business. They confirmed the approach following speculation on the FT Alphaville blog.
Shares had soared to a three-month high by mid-afternoon before the bid was confirmed. They closed up 13.48 per cent, or 56.3p, at 473.9p. Based on that price, Inmarsat is worth £2.1billion.
Satellite firm Inmarsat has rejected a £2.1bn takeover approach from US billionaire Charlie Ergen’s Echostar Corporation
Inmarsat owns and operates a global satellite network used by ships, governments, aeroplanes, media and aid agencies.
It emerged out of a UN-backed inter-governmental body and, in 1999, was the first international satellite organisation to be privatised, before floating on the London Stock Exchange in 2005.
Echostar was formed in 1980 by Ergen, 65. He and friends invested £44,000 to buy two satellite antennas in Colorado. Reportedly now worth about £13.4billion, he is thought to be the state’s richest person.
Inmarsat, headed by chief executive Rupert Pearce, 54, is hoping to cash in on the digital boom, with everything from automated cars and smart meters relying on good satellite networks.
However, its shares sank last month after it lost its monopoly in maritime safety systems.
Stock Watch – Versarien
Materials group Versarien’s shares soared as it announced a deal with Indian-listed manufacturer Arrow Green Tech.
It will supply Versarien’s newly launched graphene inks products, which are used in various printing processes, and the two firms will also collaborate to explore the use of graphene within security threads for banknotes and passports.
Graphene is the purest form of carbon and is 200 times stronger than steel.
Versarien’s shares leapt 11.4 per cent, or 12p, to 117.5p.
Russian gold miner Petropavlovsk said the identity of shareholders trying to oust its entire board remain a mystery.
Two companies – CABS Platform and Slevin – which own 9.1 per cent of the firm between them, also want three of the miner’s former directors reinstated and its co-founder brought back as chief executive.
Petropavlovsk has asked who is behind the two organisations, which invested in the firm only three months ago.
This week it received a letter from CABS – a 4.55 per cent owner – offering the names of five individuals, but the miner said it did not believe they were the ultimate owners of the entity.
The legal registered shareholder of CABS is Patia Trading Limited, and the sole legal owner of Patia is Olena Dorati.
But Petropavlovsk said there is no further information about the firm, which is registered in Cyprus. Petropavlovsk said it was ‘another veil of secrecy’.
Despite the unusual situation, shares rocketed 14.8 per cent, or 1.05p, to 8.15p.
Country inns and craft beers are driving growth at pub chain Fuller, Smith & Turner. The firm’s acquisition of craft brewer Dark Star and the purchase of six Bel And The Dragon country gastropubs boosted its bottom line.
The firm hiked its dividend to 19.55p a share.
Fullers said it had been a ‘tough year’ for the beer industry but the explosion of the micro-brewery market make it ‘an exciting time to be a fan of great beer’. Shares were off 1 per cent, or 10p, at 960p.
Commentators blamed a dip in the stock market on worries about hostilities as the G7 summit gets under way. The FTSE 100 was down 0.3 per cent, or 23.33 points, at 7681.07.
Mitie shares dropped as analysts at Numis downgraded the stock from ‘hold’ to ‘reduce’. Earlier this week the firm had reported results in line with expectations – but it had already lowered its forecasts.
Shares plunged 7.9 per cent, or 15.5p, to 179.7p.
UK Oil & Gas fell as it responded to speculation that it was looking to raise cash. The firm, which has an exploration well in West Sussex nicknamed the ‘Gatwick Gusher’, said it was in discussions and considering a fundraising. Shares plunged 14 per cent, or 0.2p, to 1.1p.