Market Report: Hopes grow for Blinkx as Toscafund's Rottweiler takes a bite

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When Toscafund builds a meaty stake in a company, it usually means founder Martin Hughes has a trick or two up his sleeve.

The hedge fund has done just that at AIM-listed Blinkx, down 0.25p, or 1%, at 24.25p, beefing up its stake in the embattled online video ad firm to more than 22%.

Blinkx, which was spun out of Autonomy (founded by Mike Lynch), has lost around 90% of its value in less than two years as it struggles to get to grips with mobile advertising, resulting in revenues shrinking for the past couple of years.

Toscafund’s Hughes, dubbed “the Rottweiler” in the Square Mile, was instrumental in taking telecoms firm Daisy Group private at the start of the year and then conducting its takeover of Phoenix IT, completed in July.

Investors will be hoping he can salvage some of Blinkx’s value by pulling off a similar stunt.

A fall of 40.21 points on the FTSE 100 to 6188.80 meant a reversal of the blue-chip index’s fortunes after yesterday’s gains.

Just when the prospect of monetary stimulus from China buoyed markets, more weak data from the world’s second-largest economy rattled confidence.

This time, the worst producer price index figure for six years had traders convinced China’s growth is on the wane, which might be the nail in the coffin for hopes of a rise in US interest rates next week.

Equipment rental firm Ashtead was 15.91p better off at 1006.41p on the back of a solid update from larger US peer United Rentals.

Jefferies analyst Justin Jordan described it as reassuring in light of the plight of the oil industry, which is taking its toll on the whole sector.

The long-awaited Apple launch in California turned out to be something of a damp squib for investors.

Shares in two Apple suppliers, ARM Holdings and Imagination Technologies, drifted lower after the event. The former lost 2.5p to 950p, and Imagination fell 4.25p to 252.5p.

Video: Apple releases its latest products

Posh curtain-maker Dunelm dropped 17.61p to 886.89p as investors were gloomy about margins despite a 13% rise in revenues to £822.7 million.

Online clothing retailer Asos, down 117p at 2660p, went out of fashion in the City on reports that an institutional backer with a 4% stake is selling most of its stock.

The news comes only a week after the firm revealed chief executive Nick Robertson is relinquishing control of the company he founded 15 years ago.

Buying stakes in an emerald mine and two exploration projects in Colombia did little to budge shares in Gemfields, unmoved at 61.25p.

The AIM-listed company, fronted by Hollywood actress Mila Kunis, has made no secret about its desire to move into emeralds in Colombia.

Elsewhere, Actual Experience, the analytics firm spun out of London’s Queen Mary University, jumped 7.5p to 242.5p as it has signed up US giant Verizon as a client.

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September 10, 2015 |
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