Standard Digital Edition

Rolls and 888 talk brighten the outlook

Graeme Evans @EvansOnTheMoney

WILLIAM HILL takeover talk and the improving prospects of Rolls-Royce today captured interest during an otherwise drab start to the trading week.

Shares in betting group 888 Holdings surged 16% in the FTSE 250 index after the Sunday Times reported a £700 million bid approach by gambling technology firm Playtech.

Today’s rise of 11.2p left 888 shares trading at 81.8p, which compares with July’s rumoured offer price of 156p that 888 rejected as undervaluing the company.

William Hill’s non-US operations cost 888 about £2 billion in 2021 but the benefits of the deal have been clouded by challenges including regulatory headwinds.

Pressure on the shares intensified in the autumn following a run of customer-friendly results, meaning 888 will lose its FTSE 250 status in this month’s reshuffle.

Buyers also focused on Rolls-Royce today as the recent momentum for the engines giant continued after Tuesday’s well-received City briefing by CEO Tufan Erginbilgic.

The shares closed on Friday at a fouryear high and added another 7.4p to 284.1p this morning, meaning they are up by more than 10% in the past week.

The latest improvement came during a poor session for the FTSE 100 index, which gave up a chunk of Friday’s 1% advance with a drop of 29.41 points to 7499.94.

Weaker mining stocks including Rio Tinto and Glencore were a factor in the poor performance, while BP and Shell dropped on Brent Crude at $78.32 a barrel.

On AIM, ITM Power shares snapped their losing streak after the Sheffield-based green hydrogen firm reported that its annual loss will be towards the lower end of previous guidance. The stock jumped 4.6p to 56.2p.

Boohoo shares also rallied 1.3p to 34.95p after Frasers Group revealed that it had increased its stake in the fast fashion chain to 17.2% from 16.5% previously. Frasers lifted 1.5p to 901p during a strong session for the retail sector.





Evening Standard Limited