Global Market News

Europe Stocks End Mixed Wednesday With M&A Activity in Spotlight


Last updated: 05/26/2021 12:34:54

12:34 PM EDT, 05/26/2021 (MT Newswires) -- European shares ended mixed Wednesday, with corporate news and M&A activity driving sharp moves in stocks such as UK private healthcare company Spire Healthcare (SPI.L) and pharmaceutical group Vectura (VEC.L).

The French CAC and the European STOXX 600 ended marginally higher, while the Swiss Market Index finished up 0.4%. Meanwhile, the German DAX 30 and London's FTSE 100 closed a touch lower.

Australia's Ramsay Health Care (RMY.F) agreed to take over Spire Healthcare Group for about 999.6 million pounds sterling ($1.41 billion) on a fully diluted basis, or 2.06 billion pounds on an enterprise value basis. Shareholders will receive 2.4 pounds per share in cash, 24.4% above Spire's closing price on Tuesday.

Spire's directors unanimously plan to recommend the offer, with Ramsay receiving irrevocable commitments from 30.4% of shareholders. However, a Sky News report cited a City source as saying that some institutional investors price the group's freehold property portfolio alone at 1 billion pounds, and are seeking to bring the overall offer up by nearly 70%. Spire shares ended up 27%.

Vectura agreed to the takeover proposal from a newly formed company indirectly controlled by funds managed by the Carlyle Group's (3VU.F) Carlyle Europe Partners V, with shareholders set to receive 1.36 pounds in cash plus a dividend of 0.19 pound for each Vectura share they hold, valuing the company at around 958 million pounds.

The cash offer represents a 32% premium to the ex-dividend closing price per share of 103 pence Tuesday. Vectura said the board plans to recommend unanimously that shareholders vote in favor of the acquisition, which is expected to close in Q3. Shares in Vectura ended up 34%.

In other corporate news, C&C Group (CCR.L) swung to a loss in fiscal 2021 after COVID-19 weighed down the Irish drinks company's balance sheet, prompting the group to launch a rights issue. Shares ended down 11%.

Meanwhile, Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA.AS) was ordered by a Dutch court to reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 after its climate policies were deemed too vague in a case brought by environmental activists, Euronews reported.

The court ruling is the first to impose policy changes rather than fines in such litigation. Its effect is binding only in the Netherlands. Shell shares ended marginally higher.
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