Investors including Blackstone Inc. and Thomson Reuters Corp. sold about £2 billion worth of stock in London Stock Exchange Group, bringing the total amount offloaded since March to more than £7 billion. LSE also bought back around £750 million in shares, part of Chief Executive Officer David Schwimmer’s pledge to support an “orderly sell down” for the consortium. That’s as the exchange struggles to retain premium listings and win over new ones.
(Bloomberg) — Investors including Blackstone Inc. and Thomson Reuters Corp. sold about £2 billion worth of stock in London Stock Exchange Group, bringing the total amount offloaded since March to more than £7 billion. LSE also bought back around £750 million in shares, part of Chief Executive Officer David Schwimmer’s pledge to support an “orderly sell down” for the consortium. That’s as the exchange struggles to retain premium listings and win over new ones.
Here’s the key business news from London this morning:
In The City
Melrose Industries Plc: The aerospace firm said CEO Simon Peckham is leaving the UK turnaround company he co-founded two decades ago with plans to form a new venture, as it completes a shift to becoming a dedicated aerospace supplier.
- Finance Director Geoffrey Martin will also step down in March next year
- Melrose raised its full-year outlook for adjusted aerospace operating profit by 8% to a range of £375 million to £385 million, promising higher engine margins than previously anticipated
British American Tobacco Plc: The Lucky Strike maker agreed to sell the businesses to a consortium led by members of its Russian management team in a deal expected to be completed within the next month.
- The company will receive no financial gain from ongoing sales in these markets as it will no longer have a presence in Russia or Belarus
London Stock Exchange Group Plc: The consortium, which also includes Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte, sold about 25.5 million voting shares in the stock exchange at £79.50 each, according to a regulatory filing. That’s a 3.8% discount to the last close.
- LSE Group separately made an off-market purchase of about 9.5 million limited-voting ordinary shares for 7,894 pence per share
- The aggregate gross sales proceeds raised through the placement and the retail offer amount to around £2 billion
Rishi Sunak gave the go-ahead for the UK to rejoin the European Union’s €95.5 billion Horizon science program, allowing closer ties between Europe’s top research hubs to resume following a two-year gap because of post-Brexit political wrangling. UK researchers can apply for grants and bid to take part in projects under the Horizon program, with certainty that the UK will be participating as a fully associated member for the remaining life of the program to 2027, according to Sunak’s office.
In a testimony to Parliament on Thursday, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and two colleagues from the nine-member Monetary Policy Committee sent the clearest signal yet that the BOE is worried that further tightening could cause an unnecessarily harsh recession. Bailey said UK interest rates are probably “near the top of the cycle” because a further “marked” drop in inflation is likely this year.
In Case You Missed It
Smurfit Kappa Group Plc and WestRock Company are discussing the key terms of a potential combination to create Smurfit WestRock, according to a statement. The combined group’s global headquarters would be in Dublin, but its ordinary shares would be listed on the NYSE. Smurfit Kappa’s premium listing on the London Stock Exchange is expected to be canceled and there would also be a delisting from Euronext Dublin.
And the eight-century-long rivalry between Britain’s oldest university cities is coming into sharper view. Data from Reed Recruitment, analyzed by Bloomberg, shows Cambridge has opened a decisive lead over its rival Oxford in creating more jobs, providing a road map for other cities seeking to replicate the work Britain’s top two university towns deliver in stimulating the local economy.
Cobham-based Berkeley Group Plc’s trading update is due Friday morning. That’s after the homebuilder’s competitors have painted a bleak near-term picture for the sector as pricey mortgage rates deter home buyers.
“Berkeley’s top-quality homes have global appeal with a diverse client base, but the high exposure to discretionary buyers now poses a risk as investors (50% of sales) pause amid economic turbulence,” Bloomberg Intelligence’s analysts Iwona Hovenko and Susan Munden write. Its expertise in complex, long-term brownfield regeneration projects in London and southeast England brings resilience to operations, they said.
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