Market Report: SpringOwl forces management reshuffle at

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The Independent Online

The online gaming group reshuffled its management yesterday amid pressure from a US activist investor for representation on the board. SpringOwl, an investment firm headed by former Wall Street gaming analyst Jason Ader, took a position in the company in February and has vocally criticised management, tabling a vote at Bwin's AGM next week to have four nominees join the board.

Bwin's chairman elect, Philip Yea, announced yesterday that three directors are to leave the board, with the search for replacements already under way. He also repeated a plea to investors to reject SpringOwl's motion. Mr Ader said he supported the reshuffle but called the timing "curious". Bwin fell 3.8p to 114.8p.

After big highs this week, the FTSE 100 paused for breath, managing just a 14.92 point rise to 6,855.81.

Supermarkets were the best performers yesterday amid revived rumours that Morrisons, 7.7p better at 212.9p, could be a target for a private equity bid. Tesco added 7.9p to 310.45p, while Sainsbury's was up 14.9p at 347.7p.

The Greek bottling firm Coca-Cola Hellenic fell 66p to 1,381p after revealing widening losses in the first quarter of €35.8m (£29.1m).

The Foreign Office's Kenyan terror warning led to cancelled flights and a 16.1p fall to 407.7p for Tui Travel.

While the blue-chip index hung on to gains, the FTSE 250 fell to its lowest level this year – down 218.62 points at 15,397.92.

Michael Hewson, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: "Since October 2011 the FTSE 250 has risen to the tune of 75 per cent, contrasting with a FTSE 100 performance of 35 per cent, which suggests that FTSE 250 valuations may be more broadly stretched."

Inmarsat lost 4p to 706.5p after a Russian rocket slated to launch one of its satellites later this year failed.

On AIM, Akers Biosciences put on 12.5p to 290p after announcing a joint venture that will see its medical tests marketed in India.

The Hong Kong-based energy-management firm LED International collapsed 10p to 6.5p after warning that its fund-raising drive has not been successful.