Vectura agrees new takeover deal trumping rival offer from Philip Morris

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Shares in Vectura Group PLC (AIM:VEC) spike 6% to 163.2p as the inhaled drug specialist got an improved takeover offer.


Directors of Vectura have agreed an increased recommended cash offer from private equity group Carlyle of 155p per share in cash, valuing the group at roughly GBP958mln.


Last month tobacco giant Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) Inc said it agreed to take over Vectura for 150p per share as it aims to make a “natural evolution into a broader healthcare and wellness company”.


3.10pm: Lowball or only-ball offer for St Peter Port?


St Peter Port Capital PLC shares fell 29% in afternoon trading to 2.75p after its auction of all its assets got an offer of GBP2.2mln compared to book value of GBP9.445mln from last September.


The Guernsey-based investment firm said this would result in it liquidating and return the remaining cash to shareholders, with an expected return of roughly GBP2.17mln, representing about 3.38p per share.


SPPC’s board today concluded a sale and purchase agreement with RAB Capital Holdings Limited to acquired the portfolio of investments held by the company.


“Individual cash offers were received for various holdings in the portfolio, but the offer by RAB Capital represented the highest cash proceeds net of costs to conclude the sale of the portfolio,” the company said.


The board acknowledged that the level of proceeds is “at a large discount to this book valuation reflecting the circumstances of the sale. However, the difficulty for the Board was that there was little prospect of a significantly better realisation being achieved in the short to medium term.”


In particular, the largest holding by book value, Brazil Potash, “has had difficulties progressing the necessary major fund-raising to construct its mine whilst Brazil continues to have a serious problem with Covid”, while the second largest holding by book value, Buried Hill, is awaiting a full resolution of its licence position following the accord between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.


“No holding in the portfolio offered good prospects of uplift in the short to medium term,” the company said.


11.23am: More reasons to hold Morrisons


Shares in Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LSE:MRW) have spiked higher after the consortium of investors, led by US private equity giant Fortress, upped their takeover offer to GBP6.7bn.


Fortress has put out a statement saying the boards of Morrisons and its ‘bidco’ have reached agreement on the terms of an increased cash offer of 272p per share share.


This increased offer, which comprises a cash consideration of 270p and a special dividend of 2p, follows criticism of the deal from various parties, including the grocer’s largest investor.


Inestors will no doubt be wondering if the criticism will still be made now the offer has been bumped up from GBP6.3bn.


10.21am: Darktrace in the shade


Darktrace PLC (LSE:DARK) shares are down after pre-IPO investors in the cybersecurity outfit sold a big chunk of them in a placing overnight.


Private equity giant KKR, venture capital firm Balderton Capital, and esoterically named funds Summit DT CLN Holdings 4 and Hoxton Ventures Fund I Opportunities III LP together sold 23.2mln shares at 620p apiece, netting a total of GBP143.84mln.


This compared to the price at Darktraces IPO of 250p when the same number of shares cost GBP58mln.


Not bad, financial engineers, not bad – but they could have made even more if they had been able to sell at the end of last month when the shares hit a high of 787p.


The price has fallen further today, down 6% to 640p.


9.05am: Sporting payback for Sportech?


Sportech PLC (LSE:SPO), the sports betting and lottery software group, has galloped 9% higher to 33.99p in early trading on Friday after signalling its intention to return up to GBP35.5mln to shareholders.


The London-headquartered company, which owns a chain of betting venues and Bobby V’s sports bars in Connecticut USA plus UK-regulated B2B lottery technology, plans to hold a tender offer where it buys back 88.75mln of its shares at a price of 40p.


In June, the company sold its Global Tote Business, the Bump 50:50 Business and a freehold property in Connecticut, making net cash proceeds of GBP36.1mln.


Management have also revealed that they are in “exclusive discussions” to potentially sell the terrestrial lottery supply contract for US$14-$15mln.


Shareholders Lombard Odier, the North Atlantic Smaller Companies Investment Trust plc and Oryx International Growth Fund have given an irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the capital reduction and other resolutions at the general meeting on 23 August.


Elsewhere, Jangada Mines PLC (AIM:JAN, FRA:JMU) was up 5% to 7.29p after reporting a big jump in estimated resources at its Pitombeiras ferrovanadium project in Brazil.


The total mineral resource estimate was increased 45% to 8.26mln tonnes and comprises of results from three exploration target areas.


About 62% of the updated resource estimate is now classified at the higher confidence measured and indicated category and as a result Jangada has decided to issue a definitive feasibility study in the third quarter rather than a previously planned upgraded economic study.

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