‘Merger Monday’ sparks shares bonanza for FDs

Some of Britain’s top finance directors could be in line for a bumper pay day
after a flurry of market activity and speculation earlier this week signalled
the renaissance of corporate mergers and acquisitions.

Five major companies were at the centre of takeover rumours this week, on
what traders dubbed ‘Merger Monday’, sending share prices soaring and adding an
estimated £29bn to the value of British companies.

Top of the pile was the approach for BT’s FTSE100 mobile spin-off O2 by
Spanish communications giant Telefonica, in a bid worth £18bn.

At an offer price of 200p per share, which the board is recommending
shareholders accept, O2 FD David Finch could net over £2.6m from share awards,
according to figures from the latest annual report.

Ian Lough, FD at glass company Pilkington, and Nick Luff at ferry group P
&O, could also be on the verge of big payouts after both their businesses
received approaches that could result in offers of around £2bn and £3bn

Football club Aston Villa and construction group Mowlem, among others, also
received approaches with a view to purchase on the same day, potentially
benefiting FDs Mark Ansell and Paul Mainwaring.

‘Corporates are back on the acquisition trail after a number of years where
they have been focusing on the cost base and reducing debt,’ said Tim Murphy,
debt advisory partner at Deloitte.

‘They are now in a place where they feel they can go back to the market,
raise debt, raise equity and actually start to compete for acquisitions.

‘We could argue that the venture capitalists have had the run of the
playground for the last few years, but now the big boys are back.’

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