STOCKS TO WATCH: Cinema rivals battle it out for judicial blockbuster
STOCK TO WATCH: Film rivals vie for blockbuster on the pitch; Music streaming companies under surveillance
Covid-crushed movie business bosses are ready to don their tuxedos for James Bond’s crucial comeback this month.
But before that, a 007-worthy blockbuster – at least in legal circles – kicks off tomorrow in Ontario as Cineworld and the Canadian Cineplex hit court.
The showdown centers on the bitter fallout from the UK operator’s decision last year to pull out of a £ 1.6bn takeover that would have made it America’s largest operator North.
Legal battle: Cineworld and Cineplex of Canada to meet in court on Monday
Cineworld claims that Cineplex violated the terms of the deal, while its rival claims that Cineworld suffered “buyer’s remorse” between the deal’s agreement in December 2019 and its withdrawal in June 2020 as the pandemic was raging.
Cineworld has less than £ 6 billion in debt and is weighing a float from its US branch to raise funds.
A legal payment could further damage the stock, which has been priced in half since reaching a pandemic peak of £ 1.22 in March.
Pass the popcorn.
Music streaming companies under surveillance
The recent report by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports select committee on streaming rocked the music industry, saying artists must have a legal right to a fairer share of music. income.
The whispers from Westminster suggest the government’s response is imminently overdue and could recommend a full market investigation by the Markets and Competition Authority.
The watchdog already has its eyes on the industry, after raising concerns last week over Sony’s £ 312million deal to buy Nick Cave’s label AWAL.
A CMA investigation would be watched closely by investors from all sectors, from Warner to rights scholar Hipgnosis, whose Chic adviser and leader Nile Rodgers testified before the committee.
AGM of the first group
The annual meeting of tomorrow’s investors at transport operator FirstGroup takes place at a refurbished 18th-century brewery in the city, and outgoing boss Matthew Gregory could have a drink.
He will bow out after a fiery campaign by the group’s main shareholder, Coast Capital of New York.
Will Coast want a farewell shot? President David Martin will take the wheel as the search for a successor begins.
The two US private equity bidders surrounding automation software specialist Blue Prism have until the end of the month to submit a binding offer.
Rory Bateman, who heads the Schroders British Opportunities Trust, believes there is a ‘deal to be done’ for the £ 1 billion company.
Bateman owns the shares of the trust, which has seen interesting growth since its launch last year through investments in National Express, Ascential and a series of private assets.
He adds: “Blue Prism is a high quality company and the valuation is extremely attractive compared to its American and Dutch competitors. Its shareholders are likely to be constructive around an agreement. A new owner must make up for missed investment opportunities in their own technology. ‘