Finance Markets

January 18, 2007

“Big Brother” producer up on rumored sale

Permalink: “Big Brother” producer up on rumored sale

Filed under: Equities, Economy, Europe

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was lower on Thursday, losing early gains after the New York markets were weaker in early trade. The 300 closed at 1,509.47, a decline of 0.1 percent on the session.

The pharmaceuticals sector saw declines. Novartis dropped 1.4 percent to SFr72.60 even though it reported record sales and profits in its full-year results when its outlook for the new year didn’t please investors. Merck, meanwhile, was 1.9 percent lower to €88.04 even though it said its operating profits were up by 58 percent in the fourth quarter.

Allianz dropped 1.9 percent to €151.68 on its offer to buy the 42.2 percent of French insurer AGF that it does not already own. The deal, which had been expected, involves €7.5 billion in cash and €2.3 billion in shares. Some shareholders would have preferred that the German insurer buy back its own shares. AGF added 0.2 percent to € on the news.

In the telecommunications sector, KPN gained 2.7 percent to €11.67 when Goldman Sachs put the Dutch company on its European buy list.

Endemol added 0.2 percent to €19.22 after JP Morgan said that Telefonica will soon sell its 75 percent stake in the Dutch television production company. Some analysts said that the share price could be driven higher than it might have otherwise been due to increased ratings for Endemol’s “Big Brother” reality show. The higher ratings have been generated by recent controversy over the show.

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