Fintech firm Mode Global, which offers cashback in the form of bitcoin cryptocurrency, tanked after an awkward clarification of its relationship with several UK retailers.
The shares surged on Thursday after it announced that more than 40 retailers would participate in its cashback scheme, naming Ocado, Homebase and Boots.
However, the stock plunged 12.5 per cent, or 5p to 35p after a humiliating climbdown in which it said some brands it specified ‘have since withdrawn’ their affiliation.
The future?: Fintech firm Mode Global offers cashback in the form of bitcoin cryptocurrency
The admission came after the three named retailers told The Times newspaper that they were not involved. Despite this, the company defended its previous release, reaffirming that over 40 online retailers had accepted it onto their affiliate programmes.
The developments are an embarrassment for Jonathan Rowland, the chairman and a serial entrepreneur who set up the firm in 2019 and is its largest shareholder with a 21 per cent stake. His internet investment business Jellyworks listed in 1999 just before the bursting of the dotcom bubble, causing confidence in internet-based businesses to collapse.
In 2011 he launched Jellybook, another investment firm focused on social media, but it was liquidated two years later after failing to secure any deals. The 46-year-old is the son of millionaire David Rowland, a Conservative party donor and friend of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. The elder Rowland, 76, is thought to have previously helped bankroll the Duke’s lavish lifestyle and reports this week claimed the family had paid off a £1.5m loan taken out by Andrew while he was still a working member of the royal family.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.5 per cent, or 32.39 points, to 7223.57 while the FTSE 250 dipped 0.4pc, or 82.13 points, to 23,492.49.
The blue-chip index was weighed down by fresh lockdowns in Europe, which spooked travel and leisure stocks. British Airways owner IAG descended 3.8 per cent, or 5.82p, to 148.5p as hotelier Whitbread sank 2.3 per cent, or 70p, to 3013p and rival Intercontinental Hotels lost 1.5 per cent, or 75p, to 4905p.
Mid-cap travel firms were also hit, with Easyjet down 2.7 per cent, or 15.4p, to 555.2p while Wizz Air slumped 4.6 per cent, or 203p, to 4173p, Tui shed 2.5 per cent, or 5.3p, to 209.4p and Ryanair fell 2 per cent to €15.96.
In the leisure sector, Cineworld fell 1.8 per cent, or 1.1p, to 61.2p, Wagamama owner Restaurant Group tumbled 2.6 per cent, or 2.3p, to 86p and publican Wetherspoons fell 1.6 per cent, or 14.5p, to 920p.
Oil major Shell fell 3.2 per cent, or 53.6p, to 1610.2p while BP dropped 2.9 per cent, or 9.9p, to 326.55p as crude prices slid below $79 a barrel.
Safety equipment group Halma gained 1.3 per cent, or 41p, to 3165p as it snapped up Infinite Leap, a healthcare consulting firm in the US, for around £22m. It will be integrated into Halma’s Centrak, which provides location services for healthcare facilities.
Logistics firm Wincanton rose 2.4 per cent, or 9p, to 390p after profits for the six months to the end of September climbed 31 per cent to £25.1m. Revenue jumped 19 per cent to £690.3m, fuelled by the boom in online deliveries. The interim dividend rose 40 per cent to 4p per share.
Property investment firm Great Portland Estates flagged a better than expected rise in net asset value (NAV) in its first half, helped by strong rental levels in its office properties. For the six months to September 30, the group’s NAV rose 2.2 per cent to 796p per share, boosted by a 2 per cent increase in the value of its portfolio to £2.5billion.
The shares ticked up 0.1 per cent, or 0.5p, to 747.5p.
Meanwhile, Seraphim, the world’s first listed fund focused on space technology, added 1.1 per cent, or 1.4p, to 125.4p following a strong first quarter after it listed in July. NAV rose 6 per cent to 104p per share.
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