A cheeky website about deals, dealmakers and anything else I find interesting. Edited by Ben Harrington. If you have a tip or want to discuss a story please feel free to email Betaville at ben@betaville.co.uk. Betaville can also be reached at Whats App, Signal or Telegram. Betaville's Twitter handle is @bharringtonw11 and you can message me via Twitter with stories.

Sunday review - ITV

Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:00 pm

Oliver Shah's business comment piece in this weekend's The Sunday Times contains an interesting snippet for ITV watchers: an activist investor is rumoured to be studying the possibility of buying a stake in the broadcaster.

The piece goes on to speculate about how the company could look at splitting itself in two or a combination with a rival, such as Germany's ProSieben. Below is a link:..

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Flutter followers all aflutter about, er, short covering...

Thursday, 4 July 2019, 9:07 am

Today's serious newspapers - the venerable Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Times - pin Flutter's 20pc share price gain during yesterday's session to various bid rumour theories.

US stakebuilding, private equity or a takeover offer from various competitors were tipped as reasons for the share price surge in the company formerly known as Paddy Power Betfair...

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Two Shields...

Wednesday, 3 July 2019, 9:14 pm

Have you ever come across penny share Two Shield Investments?

I have to admit I hadn't until a loyal reader pointed out it might be worth taking a closer look at the company.

The shares were up almost 20pc today - although it's not clear why.

Anyway, there do seem to be an interesting bunch of characters coming onto the shareholder register, such as Matthew Hammond, the CFO of Mail.RU, a Russian internet company...

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More M&A on the way in Britain post Brexit deal, top fund manager tells the Telegraph

Saturday, 29 June 2019, 9:16 am

Tucked away in the back of the business section of my old employer - The Daily Telegraph - are some rather interesting comments from Gervais Williams, the respected fund manager, about the prospect of a pick up in dealmaking.

Williams, who runs the Diverse Income invesmtent trust - told Richard Evans, a rather nice former ex-colleague who writes the Questor column- that London-listed companies are at "unusually attractive valuations"...

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Betaville Intelligence

UNCOOKED ALERT: Ontex said to ...

Wednesday, 26 June 2019, 8:45 am

Ontex, the Belgian diaper maker, is rumoured to be back "in play".

People claiming to be familiar with the matter said the company is at the centre of speculation about a potential takeover.

However, it's not clear which company is interested in buying Ontex, said these people claiming to be familiar with the matter.

Last year, Ontex received a takeover approach from French private equity firm PAI Partners...

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Tags: Ontex

Tigers on the block

Tuesday, 25 June 2019, 8:19 am

Hat tip to Dom Walsh of The Times business section.

Last night he landed a cracking tale about Leicester FC being put up for sale by its owners. Betaville was particularly interested by this scoop about the rugby club as I'm an avid Rugby Union fan. Below is a link to Dom's piece...

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Mystery shareholder shuffle at Woodford-backed Oxford Nanopore - Part 3

Saturday, 22 June 2019, 9:57 am

So, the mystery surrounding the shareholding shuffle at Oxford Nanopore Technologies might not actually be a mystery after all!

Back in March it emerged, according to the venerable Financial Times, that after Oxford Nanopore told Woodford of its floatation plans the fund manager was able to sell his 2.15 million shares back to the company, which were cancelled and then reissued as new securities...

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Betaville Intelligence

RARE ALERT: Marston's said to ...

Thursday, 20 June 2019, 9:22 pm

Marston's, the London-listed brewing group, is said to be plotting a sale of Pitcher and Piano, the well-known chain of bars frequented by City traders, bankers and lawyers.

Sources claiming to be familiar with the matter said Marston's is working with advisers on the disposal, with one source claiming Sapient Corporate Finance might be advising on the deal...

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Tags: Marston's

Mystery shareholder shuffle at Woodford-backed Oxford Nanopore Technologies

Tuesday, 18 June 2019, 9:33 pm

Ping!

A loyal reader gets in touch to point out that there has been a substantial change in the shareholding structure of Oxford Nanopore Technologies, the gene-sequencing company that received investment from beleguered fund manager Neil Woodford.

Below is a link to the Companies House filing history that shows today's purchase of shares and allotment of shares at Oxford Nanopore Technologies:..

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The strange goings-on with Thomas Cook's debt...

Monday, 17 June 2019, 7:34 am

Last week there was a report on Bloomberg that some of the lenders to Thomas Cook had begun offloading the company’s debt amid fears about the company’s financial position.

According to Bloomberg, lenders holding around £300 million of Thomas Cook's debt were contacting potential buyers and brokers about selling some of the debt at half its current market value...

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Teneo in the headlines...

Friday, 14 June 2019, 9:59 am

Two weeks ago financial and political public relations firm Teneo hit the headlines after the boss of its London office issued a warning to employees about "pooing in the shower", leaving their messy underwear for the cleaner to pick up and throwing up on the company carpets. Below is a link to the peice broken on Guido Fawkes and the follow up in the The Times: ..

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Where have all the "locusts" gone...?

Thursday, 13 June 2019, 9:13 am

"Locusts!" That's how the German establishment dubbed private equity firms looking for deals in the country a decade ago.

Wind on ten years and KKR - the American buy-out firm lionised in the seminal book Barbarians At The Gate - is backing a $8 billion leveraged buy-out of Axel Springer.

Yet, as far Betaville can see, none of the German establishment have objected to such a "locust" taking control of one Germany's largest media companies...

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[Disclaimer - the information on Betaville does not consitute any form of investment recommendation and is not intended to be relied upon by readers in making, or refraining from, any investment decisions].