#1. William Hill
William Hill are providing a quarterly update this morning with news that online and US operations are continuing to drive growth for the business. They’re also confident that full year expectations will be met, but a couple of troubling stats do jump off the page. Revenues from UK & Irish horse racing seem particularly vulnerable – some 15% of fixtures in the quarter were abandoned because of weather, whilst the gross win margin came in at a self-confessed ‘unusually high’ 18.8%, further flattering the figures.
#2. Virgin Money
Confirmation this morning from both Virgin Money and CYBG (Clydesdale bank) that an acquisition may be on the cards. A formal offer was tabled by CYBG last night and has been reported in the press, forcing the statement. This is a very early stage of the negotiations, but the clock is now ticking as far as the takeover code is concerned. CYBG has until 4th June to announce a firm intention to bid for the business.
#3. Nestle and Starbucks
Another break from the usual with Nestle and Starbucks announcing their joint venture over RNS this morning. Given one company is listed in Switzerland and the other in the USA, this again shows the significance of the news channel. The deal was largely reported yesterday but in summary, Nestle is paying $7.1 billion for the rights to market Starbucks coffee in retail brands outside the existing chain of coffee shops. The business currently generates $2bn in annual sales, so this is quite a gamble. Nestle already owns the Nespresso and Bescafe brands.