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MARKET REPORT: Flutter and Entain soar in Blackstone deal

London-listed betting stocks Flutter and Entain soared after Australia’s Crown Resorts accepted a £5bn takeover offer from private equity giant Blackstone.

Crown, apart from owning several prestigious hotels, has many gaming assets. It owns Betfair Australasia, Chill Gaming and DGN Games along with a 50 per cent stake in the Aspers casino chain here in the UK.

The rattling of private equity money, of which £1.9bn will go to James Packer, son of the late media mogul Kerry Packer, was heard in the Square Mile and prompted further talk of consolidation in the sector.

Goalden: Crown, in addition to owning several prestigious hotels, has many gaming assets

Goalden: Crown, in addition to owning several prestigious hotels, has many gaming assets

Paddy Power and Pokerstars owner Flutter was up 3.4 percent, or 302 pence, at 9,188 pence, while Ladbrokes and Foxy Bingo’s Entain group was up 3.2 percent, or 43 pence, at 1,403. pence.

For investors in the FTSE 250’s Playtech, which creates the software used by gaming companies, the wait for a deal continues after it said takeover talks with corporate finance advisory firm TT Bond Partners are continuing after 15 weeks of discussions. The board said it is still exploring options to maximize shareholder value.

In February, Playtech shareholders rejected a £1.5bn offer from Australia’s Aristocrat, with a large group of Asian investors reportedly voting against the deal.

Other suitors, including the Gopher Investments consortium (the second largest shareholder and affiliate of TTB) and the vehicle JKO Play, run by Eddie Jordan, have also left.

But there seems to be optimism that an agreement will be reached. Playtech rose 6.7 percent, or 34 pence, to 539 pence. In the broader market, the FTSE 100 was up 1.2 percent, or 87.24 points, at 7,389.98, meaning it was more or less flat during the trading week. The FTSE 250 rose 0.8%, or 146.93 points, to 19,835.95

Sentiment was helped by monthly retail sales data, which showed spending grew a better-than-expected 1.4 percent last month.

1653096166 747 MARKET REPORT Flutter and Entain soar in Blackstone deal

Meanwhile, the acquisition of transport group Stagecoach by the German group DWS for £595m has finally gone ahead after receiving the go-ahead from shareholders. Rival National Express, which had struck a deal to merge with Stagecoach before being rejected by DWS, said its own bid had lapsed as a result.

Stagecoach rose 0.2 percent, or 0.2 pence, to 104.6 pence, while National Express rose 2.2 percent, or 5.4 pence, to 252.2 pence.

In the session, some of the stocks most affected by the sell-off made up lost ground with Royal Mail leading that particular charge. It gained 5.1 percent, or 15.4 pence, to close at 315.4 pence.

Even after Thursday’s warning of rising costs and slowing growth, numbers analysts at UBS see Royal Mail as worth the money. The analysts’ buy rating is based on a 420p price target.

It was hard to pick a loser as the markets headed into the weekend. But they were there if you looked.

Euromoney, the financial and trade information group, succumbed to post-earnings profit-taking as its shares fell 3.3 percent, or 34 pence, to 1,008 pence.

Investors in holiday giant Tui were still suffering from the hangover from its recent fundraising as it fell 3.7 percent, or 7.7 pence, to 201.5 pence. On Wednesday he said he would deposit £360m by issuing new shares, in order to pay off a Covid loan from the German government.

One of the biggest drops was Sensyne Health, the medical data firm founded by former Labor science minister Lord Drayson.

Its shares fell 10.9 percent, or 0.15 pence, to 1.23 pence as the reality of Sensyne’s situation continued to set in. The shares will delist from AIM on June 17 and will be delisted as part of a rescue package.

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