Whitbread at Top of FTSE 100
Whitbread enjoyed its strongest trading day of the year, after speculation re-surfaced that the company may be broken up, thanks to activist investor Sachem Head Capital who is taking out a stake in the company.
Whitbread revealed that the fund, headed by Scott Ferguson - has taken out a stake in the company of 3.4 percent, using contracts for difference. Analysts note that Whitbread’s weakness means that it is susceptible to interest from private equity and activist investors. The concern over this caused the company’s shares to slip to an 11 month low last month. Credit Suisse said that Whitbread could extract more vale from the company if it exited its pub restaurants business, and created a new spin-off based on its Costa Coffee brand.
Sachem has called for the break-up of Shire, a FTSE 100 listed pharmaceuticals company. The news that the investors are interested in Whitbread helped to boost the company by 280p - up to £39.90.
Meanwhile, concerns that Domino’s Pizza could be under threat because of the growth of Just Eat, UberEATS and Deliveroo has dragged the company’s shares down by 7.4p. Low cost airline easyJet has seen its gains stall out, after reporting earlier in the week that it had seen better than expected passenger figures in November. Shares increased by 18p, but analysts had expected a stronger performance as the company was given upgrades by multiple brokers.
Overall, however the FTSE 100 managed to escape the poor moods seen elsewhere in Europe and in the US, in spite of ongoing concerns over Brexit negotiations.
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