Updates from Blackberry and Close Bros

The FTSE 100 finished almost 40 points lower yesterday, slipping to 6,557.3. The biggest faller was Lloyds Banking Group, down -3.0% to 73.9p while Shire followed, down -2.8% to 2,520p. The biggest climber was Croda International, up +1.75%.

The Dow Jones finished the day -0.32% lower, giving away almost 50 points to 15,401. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
We commence with news that Blackberry may be taken over by Fairfax International for £3bn. Negotiations are continuing, though Blackberry also claims it's looking at other options from other players - so the discussions are not exclusive.

Blackberry announced that 4,500 jobs would go last week. If Blackberry ended up in private hands, it would help supply time to reinvent itself, away from the pressure of quarterly earnings calls and strategy updates.

"We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees," says Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa. "We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company."

Next, a pre-close trading update from Euromoney. Revenues for the fourth quarter are expected to show a headline increase of +9% on the same period last year, and an underlying increase, excluding acquisitions, of +5%, claims the company.

Euromoney expects to announce adjusted profit before tax of not less than £114 million for the year to September 30, 2013 (2012: £106.8 million) including a contribution from acquisitions, after financing costs, of nearly £2 million.

Exchange rate movements have not had a significant impact on headline or underlying revenues, it claims. Advertising revenues have also returned to growth for the first time in two years, the company adds.

Finally, financial services player Close Bros. Adjusted operating profit climbs +24% to £166.5 million and adjusted basic earnings per share up +23% to 83.1p. Despite difficult markets, adjusted operating profit in Securities improves slightly to £25.7 million.

Robust growth in the Banking division is claimed, with adjusted operating profit up +17% to £157.8 million, reflecting continued loan book growth of +13% to £4.6 billion and an improved bad debt ratio of 1.2%. The full year dividend per share rises +7% to 44.5p.

"We have a strong position in our chosen markets," says chief exec Preben Prebensen, "and we remain well funded and capitalised. We continue to see good opportunities for growth and believe we are well positioned for the current financial year."

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