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William Hill and Caesars in advanced talks, Mears exits domiciliary care

By Josh White

Date: Monday 28 Sep 2020

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 is expected to open 78 points higher on Monday, having closed up 0.34% on Friday at 5,842.67.
Stocks to watch

William Hill and Caesars Entertainment on Monday confirmed they were in advanced talks on a £2.9bn cash offer for the UK bookmaker. Caesars would offer 272p per William Hill share, a premium of around 57.6% to the closing price 172.55p on 1 September, the last business day before Caesars' first approach.

Housing provider Mears Group has completed its exit from domiciliary care, it announced on Monday, with the disposal of its Scotland Domiciliary Care business (SDC). The London-listed firm said the disposal to Cera Care Operations Holdings, which also acquired its England and Wales Domiciliary Care business, was for £2.0m cash payable on completion and a further £0.5m payable 12 months after completion. It said the proceeds from the disposal would be used to reduce the company's indebtedness.

Diageo said it made a good start to the current financial year as the drinks company's US business beat expectations. The maker of Johnny Walker whisky and Guinness beer said its outlook had improved since the end of June. Sales improved compared to the second half of last year but sales and margins will be lower than in the first half of last year.

Newspaper round-up

Business leaders have heaped pressure on the government to agree a last-minute Brexit trade deal after a survey showed that more than three-quarters backed an agreement with Brussels. The CBI warned ministers that only 4% of company bosses from a survey of 648 said they supported a no deal Brexit, while 77% said they wanted a deal. - Guardian

Britain's high streets could suffer a "knockout punch" following a second wave of Covid-19 as landlords and developers are forced to close down as much as 12m m2 of retail space and seek alternative tenants. With many shops already boarded up and many more under threat of closure, a survey of more than 400 property development bosses by the consultancy Altus Group found that 38% of executives had already been switching their retail properties to other uses, while a further 57% were considering doing the same. - Guardian

Shared offices provider IWG will this week test the mettle of landlords with the threat of putting a subsidiary that guarantees rent payments into bankruptcy protection. Jersey-based Regus plc, the name best associated with IWG, could be placed into insolvency within days, meaning it will not be on the hook for lease guarantees worth almost £800m. - Telegraph

SSP, the owner of Upper Crust and Ritazza coffee, used a ministerial directive obtained under freedom of information laws to gain an advantage in negotiations with railway station owners. The tactic will allow the FTSE 250 company, one of the world's biggest travel retailers, to slash rents owed to train operators that run most of the UK's stations, at a cost of millions of pounds to taxpayers. - Telegraph

The housing market is starting to run out of steam after months of robust growth over the summer, the most recent economic data suggests. For months the market defied the downturn in the economy thanks to a flood of enquiries from buyers seeking to relocate as soon as the lockdown was lifted. The chancellor's stamp duty cut for purchases under £500,000 also helped to fuel demand. - The Times

US close

Stocks on Wall Street finished higher on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 1.34% at 27,173.96.

At the same time, the S&P 500 added 1.6% to 3,298.46, and the Nasdaq Composite was 2.26% firmer at 10,913.56.


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