Market Report: Vodafone in new move to buy Spanish cable operator Ono


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The Independent Online

Vodafone has made a second swoop for the Spanish cable operator Ono and it looks like it’s been successful.

Reports emerged late yesterday that the mobile giant has reached a preliminary deal to buy Ono, less than a month after its initial £5.6bn bid was rejected. The Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao has made no secret of the company’s acquisition ambitions, hoping a few meaty deals could help it back to revenue growth. He will be keen, too, to head off John Malone’s Liberty Global, which has also been eyeing Ono. Vodafone was down 8.65p at 238.67p.

After hitting a three-year low just a week ago, Pearson received a boost from better-than-expected US job numbers yesterday.

America added 175,000 jobs in February, despite the unusually cold weather, and the most marked increase came in education and health roles. That’s good news for Pearson, up 21p at 1,054p, which is a big player in US education.

The scandal-hit outsourcer G4S was also ahead, adding 8.4p to 243.85p. It reports annual results next Wednesday and while the figures will no doubt be ugly, investors are hoping to see a convincing turnaround strategy from the chief executive Ashley Almanza, who joined in July.

Tensions in Ukraine and a landmark default of a Chinese solar-panel maker turned investors off the mining sector, which is heavily exposed to both regions. The worst hit was Anglo American, off 102.5p at 1,462.75p. It wasn’t helped by a “sell” note from Liberum. The broker warned that law changes in South Africa, always a tough spot for the industry, would threaten profitability.

The FTSE 100 closed down points 75.82 at 6,712.67, with rumours circulating in the City that a major US pension fund is preparing to shift out of equities and into bonds.

On the mid-cap index, the property company Shaftesbury bounced back from yesterday’s 10 per cent placing, up 21p to 650.25p. The retailer Ted Baker was also up 62p at 2159p.

Elsewhere, Tethys Petroleum, down 0.87p at 30.5p, announced that the first gas exploration well of its 2014 drilling programme in Kazakhstan has been successful.