Market Report: Peppa Pig owner's shares fatten on movie deal talk

Lights, camera ... action? With Entertainment One, the co-owner of kids' favourite cartoon porcine Peppa Pig, on the search for acquisitions, The King's Speech-backer Alliance Films has long been rumoured to be in its sights. Yesterday, with the sale process of the Canadian firm looking set to be completed in a matter of weeks, City scribblers were claiming that – win or lose – punters would be switching onto the media firm.

Entertainment One's share price has been in the doldrums ever since it decided in February to scrap plans to sell itself and instead look to make its own purchases. The reason for the weakness, suspects Canaccord Genuity's Alan Howard, is fears over a deal for Alliance being dilutive and whether a fundraising would be launched as a result.

With the news on who has won the race for Alliance – which as well as financing the Colin Firth-starring, Oscar-winning period drama, pictured below, also owns the film distributor Momentum Pictures – expected within a month, the analyst argued that whether Entertaiment One is successful or not, it would "likely encourage the market to look again at [its] strong fundamentals".

Investors weren't ready to pile in quite yet, however. Despite Mr Howard keeping his "buy" recommendation and target price of 237p, Entertainment One ended up following the rest of the market down by falling 1p to 156.5p

The week ended with a bloodbath in the Square Mile as the FTSE 100 closed 111.49 points lower at 5,655.06. Nervousness ahead of key elections on the continent this weekend didn't help, but the fall was being largely pinned on US non-farm payroll figures showing less jobs were added in the States last month than expected.

Commodity stocks bore the brunt of the damage, with heavyweight miners such as Kazakhmys (down 51p to 774p) and Eurasian Natural Resources (down 33p to 520p) not helped by Australia taking a knife to its economic growth forecast.

Tullow Oil was another blue-chip company deep in the red. The oil explorer slipped back 88p to 1,469p following the news that its Teak-4A appraisal well off the shore of Ghana is being plugged and abandoned, with Société Générale's David Mirzai warning it "may delay commercialisation plans".

One of the few bright points was provided by Lloyds as – having fallen for the past two days – it rebounded 0.98p to 32.62p after surprisingly strong first-quarter results from fellow state-owned bank Royal Bank of Scotland, which still crept back 0.08p to 24.47p.

Following last month's resignation of boss David Brennan, AstraZeneca received some support on further optimism the reshuffle will result in a major shake-up of the drugs giant. UBS's Gbola Amusa claimed there was now an increasing "likelihood of strategic announcements in 2012 that would unleash value in Astra's shares", and reiterated his belief that it could become a takeover target.

Saying it was one of several scenarios which could provide "dramatic upside", he added the group to UBS's list of "key calls". However, despite staying ahead for most of the session, Astra ended up 0.08p weaker at 24.47p.

Down on the FTSE 250, builder Taylor Wimpey was knocked back 3.96p to 47.69p by the latest figures from Halifax showing house prices fell last month to their lowest in almost three years.

Having added nearly 10 per cent in less than a month, Debenhams was 5.05p off at 80.4p. Liberum Capital's scribes decided it was time to sell the department store, saying it was facing increasing rent costs and falling margins.

Dairy Crest was bumped up 2.4p to 306.1p as it milked acclaim from Jefferies, with the broker – starting its coverage of the cheesemaker with a "buy" recommendation" – claiming the group's share price " undervalues its stable of top-tier brands".

There was no let-up for Cable & Wireless Worldwide. Fears over the future of its takeover by Vodafone (down 1.2p to 171.8p), which 19 per cent shareholder Orbis has been moaning about, saw the telecoms firm fall for the fifth straight session, sliding 0.19p to 32.76p despite the bid being priced at 38p-a-pop.

On AIM, Plexus Holdings spurted up 4.5p to 128p after the oil and gas engineering services firm signed a contract worth £1.3m with the blue-chip energy giant BG Group.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Sport
football
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
weird news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?