STOCKS TO WATCH: Crispin Odey stung as Metro Bank shares rocket on bid fever
This year’s deal fever has finally reached the long-unloved banking sector.
US private equity firm Carlyle has entered talks with canine-obsessed challenger bank Metro about a possible bid, rocketing the shares up 26 per cent last week to £1.31, and valuing the lender at £227million.
It will have stung hedge fund kingpin Crispin Odey, who has bet against Metro shares for years.
In negotiations: US private equity firm Carlyle has entered talks with Metro about a possible bid
His Odey fund has been trimming its position, but remains the biggest short seller.
Carlyle has until December 2 to lodge a firm intention to bid. A takeover would be an intriguing turn for Metro, founded by Donald Trump’s golfing buddy Vernon Hill, a brash American keen to shake up Britain’s banking establishment, and not just with free dog treats.
However, an accounting blunder in 2019 kyboshed the shares and cost boss Craig Donaldson his job.
City sources claim a Financial Conduct Authority report into the affair could come in January. Awkward timing against the bid backdrop.
Rodger Sargent increasing stake in Oberon
Small-cap investor Rodger Sargent has been deal-making with tycoons such as Sir Martin Sorrell and Nick Candy.
Now it emerges Sargent is upping his stake in Aquis-listed tiddler Oberon Investments, a wealth manager and broker.
The firm, named after Shakespeare’s fairy king, has recently raised funds for medical device maker TruSpine and data firm Silverbullet.
Sargent’s endorsement could provide some handy fairy dust.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley reckon NatWest and Lloyds may be in for a bounce
Bullish tones from analysts at Morgan Stanley, who reckon NatWest and Lloyds may be in for a bounce.
The investment bank’s most upbeat forecasts predict a 60 per cent gain in their shares, aided by rising interest rates next year.
The analysts also say the risk of ‘stagflation’ – slow economic growth, rising prices and high unemployment – has been overstated.
They are less upbeat on Virgin Money, arguing rising rates will benefit rivals more.
Its shares have already taken a knock in the last week, amid mounting restructuring costs.
That was bad news for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group – his stake was worth £600 million when CYBG bought Virgin Money in 2019, and is worth £333 million now. Ouch.
Rivalry between GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca is hotting up
The rivalry between drug giants GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca is hotting up.
GSK looks to have stolen a march on Astra with positive trial data on daprodustat – a pill for patients with anaemia due to chronic kidney disease.
Astra’s efforts in this area hit a stumbling block in the summer.
GSK head of development Chris Corsico tells me: ‘This is a significant moment.’
But Astra chief Pascal Soriot shouldn’t be deterred. Astra trounced GSK in the race to bring a Covid vaccine to market and is this week expected to post buoyant third-quarter numbers.