Market Report: Investors take a flutter on Bwin.party bid talk

Takeover talk was on the cards for Bwin.party yesterday, as investors mulled over whether to take a gamble on the online gaming group after rumours emerged it could be in line for an approach from the US.

The company has existed in its current form only since March, when the merger between PartyGaming and Austria's Bwin was completed. Since then, however, a steady slide – exacerbated by the sharp falls seen across the markets in the past few weeks – has resulted in its share price plummeting by 45 per cent.

The move has prompted chatter that the world's biggest listed online gambling group may become a target, and yesterday vague speculation suggested the casinos group Wynn Resorts, whose chief executive is the Las Vegas billionare Steve Wynn, could be a potential aggressor.

With the gossip claiming a possible bid could reach as high as 170p a share, Bwin.party managed to touch 107.8p during trading before closing at 105.7p, a rise over the session of 1.7p.

Not everyone agreed with the chatter, however, with one trader saying acquisitions in the sector were unlikely until there was further clarification over the potential regulation of online gambling in the US.

The recent rumours came after mutterings last week suggested potential aggressors for Bwin.party could come from closer to home, with William Hill – up 1.9p to 224p – one of the names linked.

Those in the City returning to their desks after the FTSE 100's volatile movements last week would not have been blamed for being somewhat fearful over what the days ahead would hold, yet the top-tier index ended up powering forwards 30.55 points to 5,350.58, its third consecutive session on the rise.

Nonetheless, traders were still cautious. "We are not out of the woods yet," said one, who added that he would feel more confident if the banks managed a sustained rally as well. That was certainly not the case yesterday as – with nerves raised ahead of today's key meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy on the eurozone crisis – the sector was left in the red.

Following reports suggesting "ring fencing" proposals could be tougher than anticipated, Barclays dropped 3.85p to 183.35p, while Lloyds Banking Group was 0.59p behind at 33.23p. Meanwhile, HSBC fell 4.6p to 547.2p despite being picked by JP Morgan Cazenove as one of the more attractive stocks after the recent sell-off.

Saying that "equity markets are oversold and [we] see many signs of panic", the broker added that "indiscriminate selling is offering great opportunities if one can look through the current extreme volatility."

Also among its picks were Amec, which finished 43.5p stronger at 949p, and Xstrata. The latter was lifted 21.5p to 1,092.5p, and – with data from Japan showing its economy for the second quarter had shrunk less than feared – the rest of the miners were also rising.

SABMiller pushed up 15p to 2,105p after Nomura raised its glass to the Grolsch brewer and toasted its emerging markets exposure. Cutting its growth expectations for the amount of beer consumed in Western Europe and US, the broker pointed out that around 84 per cent of SABMiller's profits come from outside these regions and raised its recommendation to "buy" as a result.

However, Nomura's analysts were less keen on Diageo, dropping its advice to "neutral", thanks to its new estimates that spirit volumes Stateside will rise only 1 per cent next year, although the owner of Smirnoff vodka and Bell's whisky still ticked up 11p to 1,189p.



Down on the FTSE 250, there was a definite appetite for Domino's Pizza as the pizza delivery company – recently the subject of bid rumours – surged forwards 24p to 486.8p, helped by Peel Hunt upgrading its rating to "buy".

As well as claiming that investors now have "a rare second chance to buy into Domino's iconic marketing enterprise", the broker's analysts added that they would "also take seriously recent social developments which, even after calm has been restored, may result in a subtle shift between the considerations for going out as opposed to staying at home".

The wooden spoon on the mid-tier index was taken by Michael Page, with the recruiter dropping sharply as it released its interim results. The company ended up shedding 32.4p to finish at 368p after saying it was being knocked by hiring freezes among the European banks, several of which have recently announced large job losses.



It was a good session for the explorers operating off the coast of the Falkland Islands, with Rockhopper increasing its estimates for its Sea Lion discovery. As a result it spurted up 19.25p to 237p on the Alternative Investment Market, while Desire Petroleum – which operates in the same region – was 2.25p higher at 19.25p.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Austen Lloyd: Company Secretary

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: EAST ANGLIA - SENIOR SOLICITOR LEVEL ROLE** -...

Citifocus Ltd: German Speaking Client Specialist

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...

Citifocus Ltd: Performance & Risk Oversight

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Director - SaaS (SME/Channel) - £140,000 OTE

£90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game