A cheeky website about deals, dealmakers and anything else I find interesting. Edited by Ben Harrington. If you have a tip or want to discuss a story please feel free to email Betaville at ben@betaville.co.uk. Betaville can also be reached at Whats App, Signal or Telegram. Betaville's Twitter handle is @bharringtonw11 and you can message me via Twitter with stories.

Betaville Intelligence

UNCOOKED ALERT: Urban Exposure said to ...

Tuesday, 12 May 2020, 4:00 pm

An investor that specialises in activism and private equity is rumoured to have built up a secret shareholding in Aim-listed Urban Exposure, the controversial residential development finance company at the centre of a takeover tussle for its loan book.

Christopher Mills - who runs Harwood Capital Management Group and the North Atlantic Smaller Companies Investment Trust - is thought to have bought a substantial stake Urban Exposure, said people following the situation...

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The day trader, the oil price crash and the $9 million debt

Monday, 11 May 2020, 4:08 pm

Syed Shah got a big fright the other day - a $9 million fright to be exact.

When US oil prices crashed last month Shah bought a bunch of futures contracts at what he thought was one cent a barrel, hoping to pick the bottom of the rout.

However, little did he know that at the time he was buying through his $77,000 account at one cents the real price of oil was actually minus $3.70 a barrel...

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A skewering by Sir Chris Hohn... - Part 2

Thursday, 7 May 2020, 7:09 am

Just when you thought things couldn't get weirder at Wirecard: along comes Deka.

The German investor, which owns a 1.6pc, shareholding in the controversial payments company is calling for the removal of Markus Braun, chief executive. Below is a link to Deka's quotes:

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/deka-demands-removal-of-wirecard-ceo-2020-05-06..

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Cash calls - who is next? - Part 7

Wednesday, 6 May 2020, 7:59 am

Another day, another equity placing in the London market. This time it's FTSE 250-listed National Express, which has just announced an accelerated bookbuild to raise up 20pc (around £240 million) of its market capitalisation.

Embattled Lloyd's of London insurer Hiscox also announced the results of its equity fundraising, tapping shareholders for £375 million...

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IAG and easyJet could tap equity market for fresh funds, say Citigroup analysts - Part 3

Tuesday, 5 May 2020, 4:33 pm

Citigroup is today telling clients easyJet will have to launch a major cash call to raise between £700 million and a £1 billion.

Mark Manduca - airlines analyst at Citigroup, and son of City grandee and Prudential chairman Paul Manduca - reckons there is now a "high" probability the budget airline will have to carry out a rights issue in the coming weeks or months...

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Tech entrepreneur unveils multi-million pound stake in ailing M&C Saatchi

Tuesday, 5 May 2020, 7:44 am

Vin Murria has just announced she and her family own a sizeable shareholding in M&C Saatchi, the advertising agency that has been beset by accountancy issues since last year.

According to this morning's statement, Indian-born Murria - who made millions when Advanced Computer Software Group was sold to Vista Equity Partners in 2015 - now has a 13.25pc shareholding in M&C Saatchi, which was founded by adworld celebrities Maurice and Charles Saatchi. Below is the link:..

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Cash calls - who is next? - Part 6

Monday, 4 May 2020, 10:15 pm

City wags reckon Kingfisher is working with bankers at Credit Suisse on "liquidity options".

What that means exactly remains unclear but one can presume it would involve the owner of B&Q, Screwfix and Castorama raising cash in some shape or form...

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A skewering by Sir Chris Hohn...

Friday, 1 May 2020, 6:48 am

Does anybody else think the juxtoposition of Sir Chris Hohn taking a short position in Wirecard and his very public call for the removal of the German company's chief executive a bit odd?

You could understand why the German company's surpervisory board might acquiesce to The Childrens' Investment Fund if the firm had pursued its usual method of buying a sizeable stake in the company...

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Tiziana Life Sciences back under the spotlight... - Part 3

Wednesday, 29 April 2020, 8:09 am

I have had a few enquiries about whether Tiziana's new new combinational therapy was the one announced just a few hours after the publication of Betaville's piece on Monday.

People familiar with the matter have confirmed the announcement on Monday lunchtime is the new combinational therapy referred to in my piece on Monday. I have pasted the link to the company announcement below:..

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Cash calls - who is next? - Part 4

Wednesday, 29 April 2020, 7:10 am

There is talk circulating the London market that one of Britain's biggest companies is set to launch a large cash call.

Reliable people familiar with the matter said the mystery company, thought to be in the FTSE 100 index, said the equity capital fundraising could be imminent.

However, it's not clear which blue chip company is going to kick off the rights issue or placing. If you think you have an idea, do get in touch via the usual channels, such as ben@betaville.co.uk...

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IAG and easyJet could tap equity market for fresh funds, say Citigroup analysts - Part 2

Tuesday, 28 April 2020, 7:47 am

Sir Stelios is WILLING to back a cash call at easyJet IF the airline cancels the £4.5 billion Airbus order, and throws out its chairman and chief executive.

I just needed to clear that point up following last week's Betaville piece, which suggested Sir Stelios might not be happy about a potential equity capital raising at easyJet...

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Sunday review: easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Lansdowne Partners - Part 2

Monday, 27 April 2020, 6:37 am

Investors in funds run by Lansdowne Partners can sleep a little easier.

A corporate communicator for the hedgie got in touch with little old Betaville to claim the The Sunday Telegraph's line about Lansdowne's interest in buying Virgin Atlantic is "wrong".

Mmmmmmmm...I have pasted the statetment from the Lansdowne lackey below so dear reader you can make your own mind up...

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Sunday review: easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Lansdowne Partners

Sunday, 26 April 2020, 7:53 pm

If you weren't able to pick up a copy of the Mail on Sunday today you may not have noticed I had a chat with Sir Stelios about the company's board, the airline's precarious financial position and the possiblity of a cash call.

Sir Stelios was on rumbustious form, so I have pasted the link to the piece below if you missed piece:..

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Place idle investment bankers in branches, says former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England

Saturday, 25 April 2020, 9:30 am

Sir Paul Tucker told Radio 4 this morning that highly-paid investment bankers twiddling their thumbs during the crisis driven deal drought should go to work in the high street branches.

When asked by Mishal Hussein if was there anything he would be doing differently if he were in a policy making role today Sir Paul said:..

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Pants on Fire!

Thursday, 23 April 2020, 8:56 am

Several years ago The Sunday Times business section used to run little stories under the banner of "Pants on Fire" when the newspaper discovered it had been lied to by a company or its public relation advisers about a big scoop it had been trying to stand up for publication...

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[Disclaimer - the information on Betaville does not consitute any form of investment recommendation and is not intended to be relied upon by readers in making, or refraining from, any investment decisions].