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FTSE 100 movers: Whitbread jumps as activist investor calls for Costa spinoff; WPP slumps
London's FTSE 100 was down 0.5% to 7,230.68 in afternoon trade on Monday, weighed down by a stronger pound.
Whitbread was the standout gainer amid expectations that two activist investors could force management to spin off its Costa Coffee chain from its Premier Inn business.
Elliott Advisors has built up a 5.3% stake in the FTSE 100-listed company, a regulatory filing confirmed on Monday, though the total stake is reported to be nearer 6%. The US hedge fund, which reportedly bought into Whitbread a year ago, is to press for a demerger of Costa, the Sunday Times reported.
Meanwhile, Smurfit Kappa rose following reports that some of its largest investors have been pressuring the corrugated packaging company to enter into negotiations with International Paper if it comes back with another takeover offer.
The Sunday Times cited one investor as saying: "If International Paper makes an offer of more than 40 a share then Smurfit Kappa should start talking to the Americans."
Shire was also higher after the company, for whom the boss of Japanese drug maker Takeda is reportedly readying a £35bn bid, said that it has agreed to sell its oncology business to Servier for $2.4bn in cash.
On the downside, software group Sage was weaker after its profit warning on Friday, as Citi maintained its' buy' rating on the stock but cut its overall organic revenue growth forecast for FY18-20 by around one percentage point per year and trimmed its operating margin estimates to reflect the lower top line.
Advertising giant WPP fell on news that Sir Martin Sorrell has stepped down as chief executive officer with immediate effect, with chairman Roberto Quarta becoming executive chairman until the appointment of a new CEO.
Sorrell, whose exit follows an internal investigation into allegations pf personal misconduct, will be treated as having retired from the company, meaning he will be entitled to up to 1.65m shares under long-term award plans dependent on WPP's performance.
Oil giant BP gushed lower as oil prices dropped following last week's big gains.
Whitbread (WTB) 4,229.00p 7.47%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 3,060.00p 2.62%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 276.10p 1.58%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 880.00p 1.52%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 617.80p 1.44%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,632.00p 1.30%
DCC (DCC) 6,725.00p 1.05%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,641.50p 0.97%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 192.45p 0.94%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 7,180.00p 0.84%
Evraz (EVR) 366.10p -6.75%
Sage Group (SGE) 586.20p -4.99%
WPP (WPP) 1,129.50p -4.92%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 272.60p -2.47%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,253.50p -2.38%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 673.45p -1.71%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 1,283.00p -1.23%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,714.00p -1.21%
BP (BP.) 498.60p -1.13%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,941.00p -1.12%