The buyout brigade leaves sorry saga for others to fix

He is investing around £100m in a share placing for a near-20pc stake and will also become chairman of the company started by his father, Sidney, 70 years ago.

Saga has been battered by the Covid crisis. In March, it was forced to cancel all its cruises but a stronger balance sheet would have enabled it to ride out the storm, if not entirely, then for longer than it has.

The company escaped relatively lightly during its uncoupling from the AA, which was left carrying the bulk of the buyout financing.

But at the cost of growth, Saga has still spent the last six years paying down debt and desperately trying to modernise after years of under-investment. The share price has cratered from 185p to less than 18p, leaving shareholders, many of them Saga customers who bought in at the initial public offering, nursing huge losses.

The maximum De Haan will buy in at is 27p per share, a 98pc premium to the 13.6p closing price on Aug 28, as Saga is keen to point out, but an 85pc discount to the float price.

The AA meanwhile has basically given up. Still towing £2.6bn of borrowings but valued at less than £200m after an 87pc share price slump, it has hoisted the “for sale” sign. Salvation awaits from a familiar source after three opportunistic bids from private equity land. Acromiss or even Agromas would be an obvious new name this time around.

Miserable repeat for ITV

ITV has suffered another grim day in the FTSE 100 as it faces the ignominy of being booted out of the blue-chip index. The broadcaster’s share price tumbled another 6pc on Tuesday, capping a 60pc fall since the start of the year.

It means ITV has no chance of closing the gap with the rest of the pack as the latest quarterly reshuffle is finalised today before being implemented later this month.

The company is now worth just £2.4bn, with British Land the next biggest at £3.3bn, which is likely to follow ITV down the escape chute. ITV is also now smaller than nearly 40 constituents of the wider mid-cap FTSE 250 index.

It is worth just half that of bargain retailer B&M Bargains, which is heading in the other direction, and only £100m more than Genus, the biotech firm that specialises in bull and pig semen.

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