Updates from ITV, Smith & Nephew and Facebook
The FTSE 100 ended -0.31% lower on Friday at 5,939.9. The biggest riser was Randgold Resources, which climbed +2.68%. Evraz though dipped -3.45%. Broadly, most markets slipped on US debt doubt.
No frights from Asia overnight as markets enter the holiday period. The Japanese markets were closed today while the Hang Seng climbed +0.16%.
We enter Christmas Eve with an update from ITV. It has announced it will pay $40m for a 61.5% stake in Gurney Productions, with a put-and-call option to buy the remaining 38.5% of the company. The hope is that the purchase will bolster ITV's position as a producer for major US television networks.
ITV says the put-and-call option could be exercised from 3 years after the initial deal and at the end of year 5. Gurney Productions is a high margin business with three quarters of its revenues coming from returnable series, ITV claims. The company's EBITA for 2012 is forecast to be at least $10m.
"ITV Studios America," says chief exec Adam Crozier, "has been growing revenues at around 20% for the last two years under the leadership of Paul Buccieri. Gurney is a great company with terrific programme brands, which will add scale to our already successful US business."
Next, medical technology player Smith & Nephew. It has announced the completion of the acquisition of the assets of Healthpoint Biotherapeutics. The purchase price of $782 million in cash has been financed from Smith & Nephew's existing cash resources and bank facilities.
The acquisition gives Smith & Nephew, it claims, a strong position in bioactives, a fast-growing area of advanced wound management.
"Its bioactives platform perfectly complements our exudate and infection management and negative pressure expertise," says chief exec Olivier Bohuon. "Our Advanced Wound Management division has consistently outperformed the market growth rate in recent years."
Finally, Facebook. Its emerged that Facebook Ireland - its European hub which accounts for around 40% of Facebook's overall revenues - paid just £2.9m in tax despite making profits in excess of £800m. It's thought Facebook managed to minimise its tax bill by shifting cash to subsidiary companies as royalty fees.
Facebook's 'Double Irish' move means much of their profits are also counted as business expenses - a completely legal move. Other US companies - Apple, Starbucks who make hundreds of millions in sales in the UK - continue to pay very little in tax.
"We have our international headquarters in Ireland," said Facebook, "that employs over 400 people and a series of smaller local offices providing support services all over Europe. Dublin was selected as the best location to hire staff with the right skills to run a multilingual high-tech operation serving the whole of Europe."