Small Talk: Troubled EasyScreen ready for takeover talks

Shellwallah venture - Antisoma campaign - Stream surges - Clarity's sushi order - Matrix acquisition

Easyscreen, the derivatives trading software company which went to the brink of bankruptcy in September, is ready to make management changes and enter takeover talks that could boost the company's beleaguered share price.

Royalblue, the share trading software company that is looking to expand into derivatives, is considering making an approach, with initial contact coming as early as this week, according to those who know EasyScreen well.

It is also believed that Philip Docker, the former London International Financial Futures Exchange trader who founded EasyScreen in 1998, is ready to split the roles of chairman and chief executive to placate investors. They have watched as the company repeatedly missed its financial targets and was forced to admit it would run out of money at the end of September. In the end, it raised £3.5m in a placing announced on 28 September.

Since then, Easyscreen has announced a big new customer in the shape of Man Financial, a division of the FTSE 100 hedge fund manager Man Group.

Shellwallah venture

Haresh Kanabar, self-styled "shellwallah", is at it again with the creation of a shell company to invest in Indian call centres and other firms on the subcontinent which provide outsourcing services to multinationals. Indian Outsourcing Services, which is raising £500,000, is the latest of several ventures this year with his partner Nigel Robertson, the founder of Scoot.com and now a Monaco-based serial investor. One shell company created by Mr Kanabar alone, Hightower Construction, suggests he is worth backing. Last week, Hightower bought its first business, Greenfield, which does groundworks - roads and foundations - for housebuilders. The share price is now 12.5p compared with 5p at flotation and it looks to have got a bargain paying £1.8m for Greenfield, a business with £500,000 of pre-tax profit. And there ought to be more acquisitions to come, with the ambition of creating a nationwide groundworks company providing services to housebuilders and utilities.

Antisoma campaign

More buyers than sellers, is the flip way to explain share price rises, but it is also the only one which can be absolutely true. Which is why management sometimes embark on City charm offensives, collaring investors to insist on the merits of their company and its shares in the hope of persuading people to buy a few. Glyn Edwards, chief executive of Antisoma, was conducting his own "get out the vote" campaign either side of the American election, with the result that the biotech company's shares are up by a third in recent weeks. There might be just a hint of takeover speculation in there too: Antisoma's own broker has tipped it as a potential target for the acquisitive Vernalis, while industry executives think a bid from the US is possible if the shares continue to languish. The company is valued at £45m, compared with cash resources of about £35m.

Stream surges

The launch of the mighty Vodafone's third generation 3G mobile phones ought to mean the coming of age of interactive phone services. Already little Stream Group, which provides content including ringtones, wallpapers and video clips, has seen surging profits as more people get more advanced phones. These phones are likely to be a big-selling Christmas gift, and Stream is working on new gambling services such as phone poker in association with one of the internet's big poker sites. Stream shares could be just as lucrative an investment next year as this.

Clarity's sushi order

Clarity Commerce, whose software helps chains of restaurants, hotels and cinemas to operate more efficiently by combining information from different sites, has won a new customer, the 19-strong Yo! Sushi chain. So far, so ordinary. But Yo! Sushi's financial director, Zoe Tindall, has come out with an unusually gushing tribute to Clarity. In a highly competitive market for this sort of software, such tributes matter. She writes: "After a long search for a partner who could adapt to some of our unique operations, we found Clarity to be the only company who could offer the working partnership that Yo! Sushi required. Clarity is able to adapt off-the-shelf products to our needs and still retain the ease of use for the staff while giving head office the reporting to make timely decisions about the business."

Matrix acquisition

Matrix Communications is about to make its biggest acquisition to date as it tries to turn itself into a rival to Vanco, providing companies with services that help to manage their computer and telephone networks. It is paying £12m for Network Partners, a company established in 1999 and one of the big re-sellers of BT services.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine