Famous five of business this week (July 5-9)

  1. Morrison (WM) Supermarkets Plc (LON: MRW)

Apollo Global Management, the third private equity group, joined the fray to bid for fourth-largest supermarket of Britain, Morrisons, with $8.7 billion bid offer. Last year Apollo missed on buying Asda, however, this time, it is reportedly in the preliminary stages of the evaluation process for Morrison.

Earlier, Morrisons said the board, led by Chairman Andrew Higginson, had recommended a takeover bid from SoftBank owned Fortress Investment Group, for the consideration value of 6.3 billion pounds ($8.7 billion). Prior to this, Morrison has turned down a 5.5 billion pounds ($7.65 billion) preliminary takeover bid from Clayton Dubilier and Rice, US private equity firm, arguing it undervalued the business. Ultimately, Morrison’s shareholders will decide its fate.

  1. British Airways

British Airways, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON: IAG) has settled a 2018 data breach case on 6 July. The case was brought by 420,000 customers and staff whose personal and financial information, including bank details, contact information and addresses, were leaked. These data breach victims will receive an undisclosed sum.

The settlement amount was 183 million pounds but in October, Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office reduced the British Airway’s fine to 20 million pounds, keeping in mind the coronavirus pandemic that has hit hard the aviation sector. Later, through an email statement, British Airways apologised to the customers who have been affected by the data breach issue.

  1. Wise Plc (LON: WISE)

Wise Plc got listed on the London Stock Exchange on 7 July via a direct listing rather than the usual traditional IPO method. The firm is valued at £8 billion. Wise’s listing became very crucial for London Stock Exchange and helped it in maintaining its image as a hub for fintech firms, as London is struggling to attract new companies looking for a listing.

The company’s shares opened at GBX 800 and touched an intraday high of GBX 880 on the very first day of the listing.

  1. Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LON: LLOY)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined £91 million to Lloyds Banking Group’s insurance division for misleading customers over a period of eight years.

As per FCA, Lloyd’s insurance units were sending renewal notices to its millions of customers, but they fail to ensure the language, which was not clear and were misleading. It is one of the largest fines levied by FCA against a lender for this kind of breach, involving nine million renewal communications between 2009 and 2017.

In addition to that, close to half a million customers were told they would receive a loyalty discount; however, it was never intended to be applied. Later, Lloyd apologised and paid around 13.5 million pounds to customers who were affected by the discount issue.

  1. AstraZeneca Plc (LON: AZN)

On 9 July, citing a preprint study based on 1 million vulnerable people, Public Health England (PHE) said that Pfizer/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was effective against symptomatic COVID-19 infection in high-risk groups. However, in risk groups, overall vaccine effectiveness against the symptomatic disease was around 60% after one dose of either of the said vaccines.

After taking the second dose of vaccine, effectiveness increases to 93% for Pfizer-BioNTech and 78% for AstraZeneca, in people of risk groups aged 16 to 64. However, for age above 64, Pfizer and AstraZeneca were 87% and 76% effective, respectively.