Famous five of business this week (October 18-22)

Monday – October 18

1.      Playtech Plc (LON: PTEC)

Playtech Plc, a UK-based online gambling software supplier and developer, entered into a takeover agreement with Aristocrat Leisure Ltd., an Australian slot machine manufacturing company, for £2.7 billion (A$5 billion or $3.7 billion).

The deal values Playtech at 680 pence ($9.35) per share. Aristocrat will raise nearly A$1.3 billion through the sale of its shares to help fund the acquisition. The formation of the combined entity post-acquisition will provide a broad portfolio of end-to-end solutions for gamers. Aristocrat also expects Snaitech, Playtech’s Italian omni-channel gambling operator, to open up opportunities for expansion in new European markets.

Tuesday – October 19

  1. Tesco Plc (LON: TSCO)

Tesco, a leading general merchandise and grocery retailer in the UK, launched its first GetGo store in Holborn, Central London, to compete with AmazonGo stores. Tesco’s GetGo stores will enable shoppers to purchase groceries without needing to scan items or pass through a bill counter. The launch follows a small trial of a similar store model at Tesco’s Welwyn Garden City head office.

The store would be equipped with weight sensors on the shelves integrated with an AI system to track shopper movement and monitor selected items through a camera. The new concept store would require shoppers to download the Tesco.com app to check-in by scanning a QR code generated on their phone.

Wednesday – October 20

  1. Unilever Plc (LON: ULVR)

Unilever, the owners of brands such as Marmite, Domestos and Dove, warned that rising inflation could worsen in the coming year due to the rise in costs of raw materials such as packaging and edible oils and energy. High inflation is forcing the company to increase the prices of its toiletries, cleaning and food products.

In the quarter ended September, the company had increased its prices by 4.1% - the highest since 2012. Rising inflation is compelling the manufacturer to pass on the price rise to shoppers.

Thursday – October 21

  1. FirstGroup Plc (LON: FGP)

FirstGroup announced the sale of its Greyhound bus service in the US to focus on the transport business in the UK. The FTSE 250 listed company will operate its inaugural Lumo train service from London to Scotland. Its North American intercity coach business will be sold to FlixMobility, a German operator, for consideration of £125 million ($172 million).

As per the deal, FirstGroup will temporarily retain the depots and terminals and pension liabilities that will help offload Greyhound’s net loss of $19 million. FirstGroup also announced that the losses would be balanced by the profits from the recent sales of First Student and First Transit bus businesses in the US.

Friday – October 22

5.      J Sainsbury Plc (LON: SBRY)

Sainsbury's, one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK, declared that it had ended talks about the sale of banking operations. The announcement came post the conclusion that the approaches it first received in November 2020 failed to provide good value to shareholders.

As a result, the board of the company concluded that the expressions of interest do not offer better value for shareholders than retaining Sainsbury's Bank.

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