The World Cup and Love Island – two of the most unavoidable fixtures on television this summer – were keeping ITV head and shoulders above its FTSE 100 peers yesterday.
After investment bank Societe Generale U-turned on the company yesterday, raising its rating from sell to buy in one fell swoop, ITV’s shares shot up 4.3 per cent, or 7.4p, to 180.4p.
SocGen’s brokers said that ITV, whose share price has dropped sharply since its 2016 high, was ‘past the point of peak pain’.
Analyst Simon Baker expects advertising revenues to pick up having slumped in 2016 and 2017.
ITV, whose new boss Carolyn McCall started earlier this year, bagged a number of big-name retailers to advertise around reality TV show Love Island.
Superdrug said earlier this week that its sponsorship of the show had helped its profits jump, while online fashion retailer Missguided is believed to have paid a premium to have its clothes worn by the contestants. And if England win their quarter-final World Cup game today, shown on the BBC, ITV will be screening the semi-final.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: ‘Almost 24m people watched England end their penalty hoodoo on Tuesday on ITV1 – at one stage four in five people watching TV in the UK were tuned into the channel.’
He added that having England in the semi-final ‘would be good for audience numbers and potential advertising income’.
Even after the World Cup ends, ITV could be in for a dramatic year ahead, according to SocGen. Baker said the likelihood of a suitor swooping in to make a bid for the broadcaster had risen from 10 per cent to 25 per cent. Liberty Global, the American media giant which owns 10 per cent of ITV, has recently cut its own debt piles and could be in prime position.
While ITV may be in the crosshairs, Webuyanycar.com’s owner BCA Marketplace fell off its suitor’s radar. It announced that private equity firm Apax, whose £1.6 billion preliminary approach was rejected last month, would make no further offers.
But investors seemed relieved and perhaps expected higher approaches from elsewhere, as shares rose 1.8 per cent, or 4p, to 225p.
The UK’s blue chip FTSE 100 index ended the day up 0.19 per cent, or 14.48 points, at 7617.70, as China’s retaliation to the start of Trump’s trade sanctions caused fewer ripples than investors expected.
Dealmakers across the pond helped buoy shares in listed private equity firm Oakley Capital. US investment firm Eli Global has made its first move into the European cloud communications space as it bought Damovo off Oakley for £124m. Entrepreneur Matt Riley, the founder of telecoms group Daisy, had invested alongside Oakley and also pocketed a chunk of cash from selling his stake yesterday. Oakley generated a return of more than five times what it invested, and its shares rose by 1.2 per cent, or 2.3p, to 191.3p.
North Sea oil exploration firm Hurricane Energy rose 7.4 per cent, or 3.7p, to 54p after it announced it had completed wells at its prize Lancaster oilfield off the coast of the Shetland Islands. It also said it had appointed heavyweight investment bank Morgan Stanley as its joint corporate broker, fuelling speculation that a takeover could be on the horizon.
Alliance Pharma saw its shares enjoy a more modest 1.8 per cent hike, rising 1.8p to 99.8p, as UK regulators approved its Diclectin morning sickness drug. Chief executive Peter Butterfield said: ‘There are currently no licensed treatments for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy in the UK so this is excellent news for patients and clinicians as it fulfils a significant unmet medical need.’