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TOP NEWS SUMMARY: Hasbro To Buy Entertainment One For GBP3.3 Billion

(Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories ...

Alliance News 23 August, 2019 | 10:53AM
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(Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories Friday.

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COMPANIES

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Hasbro late Thursday said it had agreed to acquire the maker of the Peppa Pig children's TV show Entertainment One in an all-cash transaction valued at GBP3.3 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Entertainment One shareholders will receive GBP5.60 in cash for each share, which represents a 31% premium to the company's 30-day volume weighted average price as of Thursday. Hasbro said the acquisition will advance its position as a global play and entertainment company, adding "beloved" preschool brands to its portfolio. The board of directors of Entertainment One, after consultation with its financial advisors as to the financial terms of the transaction and its legal advisors, unanimously determined that the transaction is in the best interests of the company and has recommended that Entertainment One shareholders vote in favour of the deal.

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The UK Competition & Markets Authority said it has taken action against Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Banco Santander after both banks failed to send reminders for payment protection insurances. The regulator has issued both banks with directions, requiring them to appoint an independent body to audit their PPI processes, as well as put procedures in place to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. In 2011, the Competition Commission conducted an investigation into PPI, after which a legally binding order was put in place demanding that customers receive an annual remainder from their provider on how much they have paid, the type of cover they have and their right to cancel. RBS has not issued reminders to 11,000 of its customers for up to six years, while Santander sent out annual remainders containing incorrect information to 3,400 of its mortgage PPI customers from 2012 to 2017. RBS has taken some action following the CMA's action, by writing to those affected, issuing a reminder of their PPI policy and paying out GBP1.5 million in refunds.

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Computacenter reiterated its recently-upgraded guidance for 2019 despite a marginal reduction in profit in thefirst half. The computer services provider reported a 2.3% decline in pretax profit in the six months to the end of June to GBP50.8 million from GBP52.0 million a year earlier, despite revenue jumping by 21% to GBP2.43 billion from GBP2.00 billion. On a constant currency basis, revenue increased by 22%. Computacenter declared an interim dividend of 10.1 pence, up 16% from 8.7p paid the year prior.

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Kingspan Group expressed caution regarding Brexit uncertainty and weakening German economy, despite reporting a strong performance in the first half. The Irish building materials company said pretax profit grew by 18% to EUR208.9 million in the six months to the end of June from EUR177.6 million reported a year earlier, as revenue climbed by 12% to EUR2.24 billion from EUR2.01 billion. Kingspan is paying an interim dividend of 13.0 euro cents a share, up 8% year-on-year.

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MARKETS

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London shares were higher with the FTSE 100 higher amid weakness in the pound. In the FTSE 250, Entertainment One was the best performer, up 30%. Wall Street was pointed to a higher open ahead of US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech at Jackson Hole at 1500 BST.

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FTSE 100: up 0.6% at 7,177.25

FTSE 250: up 1.1% at 19,412.11

AIM ALL-SHARE: up 0.6% at 874.80

GBP: down at USD1.2215 (USD1.2250)

EUR: down at USD1.1065 (USD1.1075)

GOLD: down at USD1,495.40 per ounce (USD1,499.20)

OIL (Brent): slightly lower at USD59.69 a barrel (USD59.77)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

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French President Emmanuel Macron backed holding further talks to avoid Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal but rejected major concessions, as he hosted Prime Minister Boris Johnson just over two months ahead of the planned British exit. Echoing comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron supported allowing another month to find a solution to the vexed issue of the Irish border which has bedevilled negotiations since 2017.But he also said the so-called Irish backstop that has caused such controversy in London was "indispensable" and said all talks had to be based on the withdrawal deal negotiated by Johnson's predecessor Theresa May repeatedly rejected by the British parliament. "We need to try to have a useful month," Macron said alongside Johnson, adding that France was nonetheless planning for all scenarios and "notably that of no deal" when Britain exits the EU on October 31.

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Italian President Sergio Mattarella says he will give political parties a few more days to solve a government crisis, but insists he wants quick decisions."The crisis must be resolved with clear decisions and in a short time," Mattarella says after two days of consultations with political party leaders. The president says he will hold a new round of consultations on Tuesday, after which he will "draw up conclusions and take the necessary decisions." This gives the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party some time to pursue negotiations on a tentative coalition.

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The US expressed "strong concern and disappointment" after South Korea announced it would end a military intelligence sharing pact with Japan amid a trade and diplomatic dispute. "The Department of Defense expresses our strong concern and disappointment that the Moon Administration has withheld its renewal of the Republic of Korea's General Security of Military Information Agreement with Japan," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn said in a statement.

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Hong Kong was set to face another weekend of mass protest as anti-government demonstrations approach the three-month mark with little sign of ending. Protesters were due to gather on Friday night to form a human chain reminiscent of 1989's Baltic Way demonstration in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to protest then-Soviet rule. Plans were underway to disrupt transportation links to Hong Kong International Airport early Saturday morning. The airport was the scene of mass protests last week but a court injunction has kept most protesters from returning. Protesters were then due to march to through the eastern district of Kwun Tong later in the day on Saturday. Two marches are also planned for Sunday. Protests began on June 9 against a legislative bill that would have allowed for criminal extradition to mainland China, which has a separate legal system from Hong Kong. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said earlier this week that she was open to creating a "platform for dialogue" with protesters although she offered few details on how to carry out the plan.

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Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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