Updates from Phones 4U, TUI Travel and LondonMetric

TUI Travel and TUI AG agree merger but Phones 4U heads for administration

Updated: 
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100The FTSE 100 hung onto a small Friday gain, up seven points to 6,806.9. Barratt was the biggest climber, up 2.64% to 389.30p with Pearson behind taking a 2% lift to 1178p. Barclays also saw a 2% surge to 230p. However Primark owner AssociatedBritishFoods gave away more than 2% as investors continued to worry about sugar earnings; Whitbread lost 1.87%, dropping to 4247p.

More pessimism in the US also with the Dow Jones sinking below the 17,000 threshold to 16,987.5, partly on Fed interest rate anxiety.

We start with bad retail news: Phones 4U, owned by private equity firm BC Partners, is on the cusp of going into administration with more than 5,500 jobs at risk - the consequence of EE failing to renew its contact with the company, following a similar move from Vodafone.

Originally Phones 4U was started by businessman John Caudwell who subsequently went to sell it for £1.5bn. The company has remained profitable but says the business cannot survive if network operators fail to supply; it's thought the terms put forward by the retailer may have been rejected.

All mobile contracts bought through the company - it has 720 outlets in total - should not be hit by the news. 02 cut its connection with the company earlier in the year.

Next, TUI Travel and TUI AG have announced agreement on a merger. The deal should mean the creation of the world's number one integrated leisure tourism business. It's thought no UK jobs are at risk from the move.

TUI Travel shareholders will receive a second interim dividend of 20.5 pence per share to include 10.5 pence per TUI Travel Share in lieu of a final dividend for 2013/2014. TUI AG shares though have under-performed against the broader market since the merger was mooted.

The move should, says TUI Travel chief exec Peter Long, "future-proof our combined business by enhancing the certainty of long-term Unique Holiday growth, and by reinforcing our competitive advantage through further control over the end-to-end customer experience".

Lastly, LondonMetric Property has announces an acquisition on behalf of its Metric Income Plus Partnership plus selling two wholly owned assets with a total transaction value of £23.4 million.

Its joint venture with Universities Superannuation Scheme has exchanged contracts to acquire Liskeard Retail Park in Cornwall for £9.0 million, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.2%. The 43,800 sq ft retail park is let to Homebase, Pets at Home and Argos at average rents of £13.45 per square foot.

At Crawley, LondonMetric has sold its Forest House office to Mayfair Capital on behalf of the Property Income Trust for Charities for £12.9 million plus Carpetright and Topps Tiles units adjacent to its Launceston Retail Park for £1.5 million.

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