Market Report: 'Significant uncertainties' could derail Playtech's £460m takeover of Plus500


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The Plus500 saga might have some distance to run yet. That’s the opinion of Jonathan Goslin at Numis, who claims “significant uncertainties” remain which could derail Playtech’s £460m takeover of the online trading group.

The 400p-a-share bid came just days after Plus500 froze customer accounts while it tightened up anti-money laundering controls. Numis believes the FCA’s review could take longer than expected and that the City regulator could even delve into other parts of the business.

Word on the street is Odey Asset Management, now Plus500’s largest shareholder, also wants an offer closer to 500p a share but the hedge fund titan does not quite have enough weight to block the bid.

Interestingly, Mr Goslin has put his estimates for Plus500 under review “as we have been unable to contact management since the review was first announced”. One thing he is sure about is investors in Plus500, up 14.75p to 370p, should quit while they are ahead.

Held back in the morning by a lack of progress in the Greek stalemate story and some disappointing services data, the FTSE 100 was inspired by Wall Street’s gains to finish 22.19 points higher at 6,950.46.

Supermarket stocks played their part, with Morrisons still revelling from its first sales rise for 18 months, up 5.6p to 178.1p, and larger rival Sainsbury’s up 4.7p to 249.8p.

Investors in Domino’s Pizza, up 18.5p to 835p, gobbled up news of a new chief financial officer. Paul Doughty joins with a CV that includes 10 years at price comparison site

Housebuilding stocks were made to feel at home after a sector-wide upgrade from JPMorgan Cazenove. Persimmon, up 17p to 1,970p, Bovis Homes, up 21p to 1,127p, and Barratt Developments, up 8.5p to 606p, were among those which benefited from target price increases.

Stationer-turned-travel retailer WH Smith rose 34p to 1,572p on the back of a short but upbeat trading statement. Shares in Gear4Music rocked out on their AIM debut, starting 4p higher at 143p. The IPO has raised around £9m for Andrew Wass’s online musical instrument retailer.