Updates from Tesco, Babcock and BSkyB

Just an 11.4 point climb for the FTSE 100 on Friday, ending at 6,749.4. Shire was the biggest gainer, up 3.95% to 4996p following its £32bn takeover agreement with AbbVie. ITV climbed 3.79% to 202.50p. British Land was also up, 2.43%, at 718p. Engineer GKN though fell 1.61% to 348.6p.

Stateside, the Dow Jones re-crossed the 17,000 threshold to 17,100.1, up 123 points following a raft of stronger earnings despite wider grim international news. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
The major news this morning is an exit for Tesco boss Phillip Clarke. Unilever exec Dave Lewis - the first time Tesco has gone outside for the top role - is Clarke's successor. Lewis comes in on a salary of £1.25m. Struggling Tesco says Clarke continues as CEO until 1 October.

Current trading conditions are more challenging than Tesco anticipated at the time of its first quarter interim management statement on 4 June, the company said in an update.

"The overall market," it said, "is weaker and, combined with the increasing investments we are making to improve the customer offer and to build long term loyalty, this means that sales and trading profit in the first half of the year are somewhat below expectations."

Next, an interim from Babcock. Across all businesses, the 2014/15 financial year has started well it claims with trading in line with expectations. The bid pipeline currently stands at £16.0 billion, including the Avincis bid pipeline of £1 billion.

The Group has around £3 billion of contracts still at preferred bidder stage within the bid pipeline, expected to transfer to the order book on contract signature during the first half of the year.

"We continue," says Babcock, "to see new opportunities coming into the bid pipeline from across the divisions, including potential opportunities for international customers."

Lastly, BSkyB has snapped up a 70 per cent stake in Love Productions, one of the UK's leading independent production companies; it's part of Sky's strategy to grow an international content business spanning broadcasting, production and distribution.

Love Productions continues as a distinct company under the new ownership structure.

"This is a significant step for our growing international content business," says Sophie Turner Laing, Managing Director, Content, Sky. "Love is one of the UK's most innovative and creative independent producers with a track record of success."


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