What to watch: Shares surge as post-Brexit era begins, Ladbrokes rejects takeover offer, and Sir Martin Sorrell's deal making

Oscar Williams-Grut
·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
Businessman Sir Martin Sorrell arrives at the Cabinet Office, London, ahead of a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra to discuss coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 12, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Businessman Sir Martin Sorrell. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Shares surge as post-Brexit era begins

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) started the post-Brexit era with a bang on Monday, rallying sharply on the first trading day after the end of the Brexit transition period.

The FTSE 100 rose over 3% on Monday, boosted by the beginning of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine rollout in the UK and a bullish call from UBS analysts.

UBS issued a bullish note on the prospects for UK stocks now that Brexit has been resolved.

“We target 7,200 FTSE 100 for end-2021 and, given our bullish view on sterling, would highlight a forecast total USD return (including dividends) of c.21%,” strategists Nick Nelson and Joao Toniato wrote in a note published on Monday. “We see UK relative valuations recovering from c.20 year lows.”

Elsewhere in Europe, the CAC 40 (^FCHI) rose 1.3% in Paris, the DAX (^GDAXI) rallied 1% in Frankfurt, the IBEX (^IBEX) gained 1.2% in Madrid, and the FTSE MIB (FTSEMIB.MI) rose 0.6% in Madrid.

Futures were more muted on Wall Street. S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were up 0.4%, Dow futures (YM=F) were up 0.3%, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were trading 0.4% higher.

Shares rose in Asia overnight. The Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) both gained 0.9%, the Shenzen Component (399001.SZ) and South Korea’s KOSPI (^KS11) both jumped 2.5%, and the ASX 200 (^AXJO) rose 1.5% in Australia. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) was a laggard, falling 0.7%.

Ladbrokes rejects takeover offer

Ladbrokes owner Entain (ENT.L) has turned down an $11bn (£8.1bn) takeover offer from US casino giant MGM Resorts, its partner in the American betting market.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) gambling firm, formerly known as GVC Holdings, said the proposal “significantly undervalues the company and its prospects.”

The proposal represents a 22% on Entain's closing share price on 31 December. Its stock market value was £6.6bn at the close on Thursday.

Shares soared 27% on the back of the news.

Under the terms of the proposal, Entain shareholders would own approximately 41.5% of the enlarged company.

Entain, which also owns brands such as Coral, PartyPoker and Sportingbet, asked MGM to provide additional information for the strategic rationale for a combination of the two firms.

Sir Martin Sorrell's deal making

S4 Capital (SFOR.L), the company run by advertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell, has announced two new deals and said it will accelerate international expansion now that Brexit has been resolved.

S4 Capital said agencies Decoded Advertising and Metric Theory would merge with two of its existing companies.

“Both combinations continue our momentum, broadening our digital, strategic, creative, data & digital media capabilities in line with our objectives for 2021,” Sorrell said in a statement.

S4 Capital said it would also accelerate its strategy and target expansion in “the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle-East” now that Brexit “uncertainty” had been removed.

The company said recent trading had been in-line with expectations. Shares rose 2.8%.

-Additional reporting by LaToya Harding.

Watch: UK rolls out new vaccine as France lags Europe