|Bid||129.30 x 0|
|Ask||129.40 x 0|
|Day's Range||126.96 - 130.40|
|52 Week Range||77.95 - 132.90|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.85|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Earnings Date||Nov 11, 2019 - Nov 15, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||99.10|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Nelson Peltz’s latest investment target is a big, slow-moving target with a massive bullseye on its back. The renowned U.S. activist has zoned in on Ferguson Plc, a plumbers’ merchant formerly known as Wolseley. His gripe is that the company trades at a stubborn discount to American peers. The snag is that remedies aren’t easy to administer.Ferguson is among the handful of U.K.-domiciled, London-listed blue-chips that aren’t really British companies. Some – such as BTG Plc or Firstgroup Plc – have already attracted takeover or activist interest. North America generates 87% of Ferguson’s revenue; the company recently changed its name to that of its U.S. subsidiary; it reports in dollars.The one un-American characteristic is the valuation. Ferguson has traded at a consistent discount to U.S. peers such as Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s Cos Inc. The obvious explanation is that the company is listed on the wrong exchange, which makes it harder to attract its natural investor base. But that’s not the only interpretation. The valuation may also reflect a lack of faith in Ferguson’s strategy or management, or some challenges unique to its business. Either way, the discount slightly narrowed on Thursday after the disclosure that various Peltz funds had amassed a 6% stake. This pushed the stock up 6%, valuing the group at 13 billion pounds ($16 billion).It is hard to know whether Ferguson would get a higher valuation if it just moved its listing. Markets may not be 100% efficient, but capital is global and location can’t be the only explanation for the lack of investor love here. True, some funds are restricted geographically in where they can put money but that’s unlikely to be a huge factor in holding back demand for Ferguson shares.Such restrictions on funds might, though, be an obstacle to engineering a move for Ferguson. Unilever Plc’s plan to simplify its Anglo-Dutch structure into a single Netherlands company would have seen it lose its spot on the FTSE 100. That irked index investors and those with mandates to hold U.K. stocks who would have been forced to sell their shares. The plan foundered.Unilever wasn’t a one-off. Re-domiciling headquarters or listings has long been controversial. The textbook case is the thwarted migration of car parts maker LucasVarity back in the late 1990s from the U.K. to the U.S. For these changes, existing investors generally demand a premium. The cleanest way to achieve a move is to take the company private, then relist it.More pertinent are worries about the company’s resilience in the face of a U.S. slowdown. U.S. organic growth is slowing from a recent high single-digit percentage clip, while margins have barely improved since 2015, UBS analysts point out. The share price seems to be assuming that Ferguson’s long-run sustainable operating margin is just 5%, according to independent research provider Willis Welby, which argues that this is overly pessimistic.Peltz’s pitch is that he likes to engage with the management of his portfolio companies. Ferguson has responded diplomatically that it looks forward to dialogue, as it does with all shareholders. The mere presence of such a big name has got people excited. The tougher job will be convincing investors that the company’s equity story – twinning organic growth with a strategy of acquiring competitors – is still a winner. That case has yet to be made.To contact the author of this story: Chris Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The bus operator traces its roots back to 1914 in Hibbing, Minnesota when Swedish immigrant Carl Eric Wickman began transporting miners for 15 cents a ride. The Academy Award winning movie "It Happened One Night," starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, prominently featured a Greyhound bus in the story, helping to spur interest in bus travel nationwide. Greyhound acquired 80% of Western Canadian Greyhound Lines and a 10% ownership in Motor Coach Industries, Canada's largest bus builder.
Greyhound has been a household name in North America since it was founded in 1914, with prominent roles for its buses and their running dog logo in movies, music and motorcycle stunts. FirstGroup, which bought Greyhound for $3.6 billion including debt from Laidlaw International in 2007, plans to sell the bus line and spin off its UK operator First Bus to head off shareholder pressure, lifting its shares by as much as 13%. FirstGroup shares closed 3.6% higher.
Train and bus operator FirstGroup said on Thursday it would sell U.S. coach service Greyhound and look to separate off its UK First Bus operations as it seeks to head off pressure from major investors for returns. The company, which reported a smaller loss for 2018 but has been facing demands from its second largest shareholder for strategic changes, also signalled it was not happy with the balance of risk and reward of its UK rail operations and would think carefully before taking on further franchises. It has been the owner of Greyhound since 2007 and had already launched a review of the service earlier this year while withdrawing from Western Canada.
The Paris region opened its bus system to competition on Wednesday, kicking off the liberalisation of one of Europe's biggest public transport systems. The board of regional public transport authority Ile-de-France Mobilites (IDFM) approved a new system for private operation of parts of its bus system and selected the first routes to be opened for a series of tenders that will be worth more than 12 billion euros (£10 billion). The Ile-de-France region - which accounts for about 30 percent of French GDP - will open all bus lines in the "Grande Couronne" of outer suburbs to competition by 2021.
The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. The Times - Britain will be thrown into an "energy ...
The company's operations in Manchester will be sold in a cut-price deal, the report said. Each site will be sold to different bus companies. The company said it does not comment on market rumours or speculations.