By Barbara Kollmeyer
London stocks were largely in the red on Friday, outside of the betting sector, where shares of William Hill surged on the smaller FTSE 250 index on speculation of a buyout deal.
Buyout firm Apollo Global Management has spoken to William Hill about a potential acquisition, Bloomberg News reported , citing sources. Shares of the betting firm surged 34% on Friday, helping to push the FTSE 250 into the green with a 0.4% rise. That is on a day that the FTSE 100 was down 0.4%. The index has lost 3.3% so far this week.
A spokesperson from Apollo declined to comment, while William Hill said in a statement that it has received two separate proposals from Ceasars Entertainment and Apollo Management regarding cash offers.
Last month, William Hill was included in a multiyear deal with cable sports channel ESPN . The company will become its odds supplier across platforms, as it gets ready to capitalize on the U.S. sports boom. On the heels of that deal, Jefferies analyst said the stock looked cheap . Shares have gained 13% so far this year.
Across the larger index, mining and bank stocks were weaker, along with airlines as the U.K. has announced stricter measures this week to combat rising coronavirus cases. U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled an emergency jobs program on Thursday as part of a wider ‘winter economy plan’ to stave off mass unemployment.
Elsewhere, analysts at Jefferies came up with a shortlist of companies to own when a vaccine comes and those that will fare less well, with several U.K. names listed. Companies to own included cinema owner Cineworld /zigman2/quotes/206525056/delayed UK:CINE -5.62% and temporary-power generator Aggreko . Those shares are down 80% and more than 50%, respectively, year to date.
As for the underperformers, retailer B&M European Retail Vale /zigman2/quotes/208742159/delayed UK:BME -1.95% and pizza chain Domino’s /zigman2/quotes/203506006/delayed UK:DOM -1.18% stand out, said Jefferies. Those shares are up 24% and 13%, respectively.