Sunday Newspaper Roundup: Twitter, M&S, TalkTalk

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Elon Musk has entered into discussions with possible partners for an offer on Twitter after the iconic social media outfit planted a so-called ‘poison pill’ in an attempt to thwart a £33billion takeover. The scheme was preceded by Twitter’s rejection of an offer from Musk last Friday worth $54.20 per share. The pill would be activated if Musk took his own stake above the 15% threshold. -Sunday Times

In a blow to Marks & Spencer, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, and hedge fund Marshall Wace, unveiled a combined £35m short position against the retailer’s stock just weeks after announcing that the head of its unit foodie, Stuart Machin, would take over at the helm, alongside Katie Bickerstaffe. It was the first bets disclosed since December and, combined with recent share price falls, revealed City were unconvinced of their prospects under new management. For Richard Hyman, a TPC partner consultancy, M&S had made a mistake by focusing so much on food and not enough on food, which had higher margins. – Financial mail on Sunday

Bankers think Vodafone is favorite to walk away with speak speak, the mobile firm that went on sale. Vodafone and Sky have also been flagged as potential buyers of the business, whose owners and executives are reportedly seeking a deal price of £3billion. Enders analysts believe, however, that the price will not be reached without a bidding war. Vodafone could, however, bolster its broadband unit with a purchase and would be more likely to get the prior green light from competition authorities. – The Sunday Financial Mail

THG suffered another blow with the exit of the founder of one of his leading beauty companies with brands complaining of late payments. Alexia Inge, co-founder of Cult Beauty, which sold skincare, haircare and cosmetics brands, wrote to staff this month to announce her departure. THG acquired Cult Beauty for £275m in 2021. It joined THG’s other brands, such as Lookfantastic and Myprotein. Yet current and former employees told The Sunday Times that the company culture had deteriorated since the purchase. An employee added that brands were no longer being paid as before. Beauty brand owner said: “Cult Beauty used to be good at paying on time [60 days]but since acquiring THG, we haven’t been paid once.” – The Sunday Times

Ministers bowed to pressure from figures such as Google and Facebook and will ease a planned crackdown on the acquisition of tech companies as part of digital markets units over fears it could stifle investment in UK startups, sources in Whitehall say. The unit had been created under the authority of the Competition and Markets Authority in order to rein in the giants of Silicon Valley by giving it greater latitude to intervene in takeovers by large technology companies with “status of strategic market. – Sunday Telegraph

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