Market Prognosis

A concise summary of the major macro events of the past 24 hours, and selected UK company-specific news.

June 21, 2023

Manchester retail soap opera

Macro & Overnight

Another shock set of UK inflation numbers shows the stickiness of retail prices. The headline rate is 8.7% for the second month, and core inflation continues to rise.

Markets are now discounting UK rates to peak at 6%, increasing pressure on the BoE to raise policy rates by 50 bps at tomorrow’s meeting.

UK Company News

Accesso, the systems provider to the visitor attractions market, acquired ticketing provider VGS yesterday for $52m, providing a neat strategic fit by product, customer and geography. 

EQT has confirmed its offer for Alfa Financial, valuing the Company at just over £600m. Following the agreed offer for Lookers yesterday, this represents c£1bn in UK mid-cap space in 24 hours. 

Berkeley warned its sales would fall another 20 per cent over the coming year if stubbornly high inflation and rising mortgage rates keep the housing market on an uncertain footing.

Cerillion, the telecom software supplier, has announced a significant contract win worth £15.1m over six years. 

Halfords reported revenue growth of +15.3% which is +2.4% LFL. It also noted that trading has been strong since the start of the new financial year. 

The Revolution Beauty board believes that Boohoo’s hostile requisition is value-destructive, opportunistic and self-serving and not in the interests of the Company’s shareholders.  It also said that reports of widespread shareholder opposition resulting from Boohoo’s ongoing management and corporate governance failures over a prolonged period are not coincidental. Revolution said that Boohoo wanted to destabilise the Group and its business to force it into administration to acquire it at the lowest possible price.

In a separate development, Mike Ashley’s Frasers acquired a 5% stake in Boohoo to add to its recent collection of stakes in AO World and Currys.   

Also, in Manchester, THG updated on a strong Q2 2023, with a continued successful focus on profitability and cash generation. It remains on track to deliver free cash flow neutrality for the year. It also announced that Founder and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Moulding has today transferred the Special Share held by him, and, as a result, all rights of the Special Share have now ceased per THG‘s articles of association. THG will cancel the Special Share. Group’s intention concerning moving to a premium listing remains as stated in its FY 2022 results in April, with timing subject to the outcome of the FCA’s review for reform of the listing regime.

A lot is going on in the Manchester retail scene. This is a fast-moving plot with Boohoo battling Revolution and Revolution fighting with its former CEO and co-founder. And Mike Ashley, never far away from a good corporate bust-up, is stakebuilding in Boohoo. Across town, Matt Moulding is positioning THG to gain an elevated status on the LSE by brushing up THG’s governance appeal. As they say on Twitter, fetch the popcorn.

Prognosticator     

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