STOCKS TO WATCH: Space race for Inmarsat may be just taking off after Viasat takeover is agreed
Lou Reed’s hit Satellite Of Love must have been ringing in the ears of industry bosses amid a spate of deal-making in near-Earth orbit.
Last week, Britain’s Inmarsat agreed a $7.3billion (£5.4billion) takeover by US peer Viasat. The two firms already had something in common – contracts on Joe Biden’s Air Force One.
The cash and shares deal will see Viasat take on $3.4billion of net debt.
Going into orbit: Britain’s Inmarsat agreed a $7.3billion (£5.4billion) takeover by US peer Viasat
And perhaps there’s more action to come. I hear listed Luxembourg operator SES – which made the first satellite for Sky TV – was interested in buying Inmarsat. Sources reckon it moved too slowly and was dismayed to be pipped by the Americans.
Could SES return with a higher offer? If not, two options look attractive for SES – a merger with France’s Eutelsat (which has just spurned a surprise advance from BT investor Patrick Drahi) or a deal for struggling US player Intelsat.
Inmarsat and SES declined to comment.
Auto Trader shares rocket
Shares in car sale site Auto Trader rocketed to record highs last week.
Profits are roaring thanks to huge demand for second-hand cars.
The stock, floated at £2.35, has now hit £7.18, valuing the company at a whopping £6.8billion.
So spare a thought for former owner Guardian Media Group.
The newspaper’s owner sold its majority stake in the business in 2014 for about £600million.
Canadian Overseas Petroleum attracts attention
Oil and gas explorer Canadian Overseas Petroleum has been attracting the attention of retail investors.
The stock collapsed from above £11 in 2016 after coming up dry in Liberia.
But its recent $54million acquisition of America’s Atomic Oil & Gas and its two oilfields in Wyoming could provide a boost when a drilling and production update is given this week.
Boss Arthur Mulholland tells me: ‘The potential is very strong and oil demand is back above pre-pandemic levels.’
He is unperturbed by big investors’ drive towards all things green.
‘Institutions invest in tobacco and receive big dividends. People will always be interested in receiving good returns on their investments,’ he says.
Hedge fund Marshall Wace builds up short position in TSB owner
Hedge fund Marshall Wace has built up a short position in TSB owner Sabadell after a flurry of speculation that the British bank could be spun off from the Spanish lender.
TSB’s board rebuffed a takeover approach from Co-op Bank for £1billion, triggering a share price rise for Sabadell on hopes of an increased offer.
The London-based hedge fund, run by Brexit-backing tycoon Sir Paul Marshall, disclosed a 0.51 per cent short position in the bank earlier this month.
Sabadell’s chief executive later ruled out a fire sale of TSB.
The hedgie will be following Sabadell’s next move closely.