Premier Oil jumps on takeover news, Wagamama sales take a hit and Travelex receives takeover offer

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Premier Oil jumps on takeover news

Premier Oil Plc (PMO.L) has announced that it will join forces with Chrysaor Holdings Ltd. in a reverse takeover, creating the largest listed independent oil and gas company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Premier has been facing a troubling period after spending most of the year attempting to restructure its debt, leading to shares falling by more than 80% during this period.

Shares rose as much as 13% in early trading on Tuesday in London following news of the merger.

The deal will result in a mega-company that pumps more than 250,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, according to a statement by Premier on Tuesday.

The deal means that Premier’s earlier agreement to acquire some North Sea assets from BP Plc has been canceled, said CEO Tony Durrant told Bloomberg. BP retain ownership of the assets and consider options for their future.

Wagamama sales take a hit

Wagamama owner the Restaurant Group lost £62.6m ($81.2m) in the first half of this year, but said trading since the summer had been “very encouraging.”

The company (RTN.L), which also owns Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito, and dozens of pubs, swung to a loss before tax as the coronavirus and lockdown hammered sales. It had made a £28.1m profit in the six months to the end of June last year.

In half-year results published on Tuesday, it posted unadjusted losses of £234.7m, largely reflecting the costs of permanently closing 147 sites. Thousands of jobs were put at risk when closures were first announced in June.

The company, like other hospitality firms, now faces the fresh blow of a 10pm shutdown across the country, as well as regional lockdowns limiting social gatherings.

Watch: What are the new Covid-19 measures for pubs?

Travelex receives takeover offer

A consortium of investors with connections to Israel have tabled a takeover offer for the company behind Travelex.

Finablr (FIN.L), the owner of Travelex and other money changing businesses such as UAE Exchange, said on Tuesday it had received a takeover approach from Prism Advanced Solutions.

The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed but both sides are understood to now be entering formal talks to thrash out details of a potential deal.

“After months of hard work under very trying liquidity conditions compounded by the impact of the coronavirus on our operations, I am excited to now go forward with Prism,” said Bhairav Trivedi, Finablr’s chief executive.

Markets tilt lower as focus remains on US stimulus and election news

Markets are still focused on news out of the US, including renewed hopes for a fresh US stimulus package and US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s electoral lead.

Greater clarity on Biden’s lead has helped on both fronts, according to analysts at Deutsche Bank in a note.

“[His lead] increased the likelihood of certainty on 3 November and also increased the chance of a Democratic clean sweep which would make Q1 fiscal stimulus a strong likelihood,” the note said.

European equities were largely helped by this news in early trading but have since gone lower.

The pan-European STOXX 600 (^STOXX) was down 0.4% at around 10am in London. Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was also lower 0.3%, and France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) slumped by 0.4%. The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was down 0.6% in London.

Watch: Cineworld shutting down operations

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