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VIEW STOCK: Is the shadowy billionaire about to usher in changes at Openreach?

VIEW STOCK: Is the shadowy billionaire about to usher in changes at Openreach?

Could there be a French telecom billionaire circling? BTOpenreach arm? The murmur of the City gutter is that the mysterious Patrick Drahi has his sights set on the department that maintains British telephone lines and internet cables.

Drahi, a powerful dealmaker, now lives in Switzerland, but made his fortune in France by building telecommunications groups Altice.

Rumor has it that one of the Altice companies controlled by Drahi – perhaps Altice USA – has received financial support from heavyweight bankers at JP Morgan with a view to paying £ 20 billion for the unit.

The murmur of the city is that the mysterious Patrick Drahi has set his sights on Openreach

The murmur of the city is that the mysterious Patrick Drahi has set his sights on Openreach

Both Altice Europe and Altice USA insisted that there was no truth in the speculation. But city gossip claims that Drahi could even weigh a hostile approach if BT isn’t willing to negotiate.

However, Drahi can compete for Openreach. In May, reports suggested that Australian investment bank Macquarie was interested in Openreach, as well as Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.

This may all sound like music to investors’ ears, as earlier this year BT had to cut its dividend for the first time since 1984.

BT declined to comment last night.

Hastings

Shares in car insurer Hastings came up last week after it emerged and its top shareholder, Rand Merchant Holdings in South Africa, had partnered with Finnish insurer Sampo to make an acquisition.

The duo have yet to submit a formal offer, which placed even greater importance on Hastings’ first half year results on Wednesday. Scribblers at Peel Hunt made a pre-tax profit of £ 58 million for the period, up 26 percent from last year, helped by lower claims as drivers drove less during the lockdown.

A strong set of results can help Hastings reject a potential offer – or defend a good price.

Ibstock

Investors in Britain’s biggest brickmaker will find out how hard it was during the lockdown when it reports its first half-year results on Thursday.

With work stalling at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, analysts expect a poor set of financials for Ibstock as a result.

And the lockdown could even push the company to a loss in the first half, they think. The key to the stock price is how the company thinks it will be going well in the coming months.

The first signs of a strong recovery could lay the foundation for a stock price recovery.

OKYO Pharma

Keep an eye on the fair minnow OKYO Pharma the next few days.

The Mail on Sunday understands that a respected health care provider is about to join the company, which should help the group develop a blockbuster for dry eyes.

The conversation is that OKYO Pharma’s treatment could compete with Restasis, which is owned by drug giant Allergan.

Last week, the company raised £ 3.5 million through the issue of convertible bonds. The shares of OKYO Pharma closed at 14.75 p after another strong week, but some think the shares may continue to rise.

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