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Vodafone and Three’s mega merger

In today’s top stories, UK telecoms giants Vodafone and Three are in talks to merge, while furniture retailer Made.com hangs up a ‘for sale’ sign. Japan’s largest IPO of the year takes place courtesy of Socionext and South Korea’s Naver acquires poshmark. Investors also consider how they want to position in an impending recession.

Vodafone and Three agree to merge

The UK’s third and fourth biggest mobile phone networks, Vodafone [VOD.L] and Three [III.L], are set to merge. According to Three’s owner CK Hutchinson [0001.HK], a combined entity with 27 million customers “will gain the necessary scale to be able to accelerate the rollout of full 5G in the UK”. The deal will no doubt be scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority, however. Oddo analysts believe there’s a 55% chance it will be approved.

Made.com hangs up for sale sign

Beleaguered furniture retailer Made.com [MADE.L] has put itself up for sale, a couple of weeks after announcing that it is set to cut more than 200 jobs. The company, whose share price has collapsed 97.6% year-to-date, has warned it will need between £45m and £70m to stay operating as a public company over the next 18 months. As of 3 October, Made’s market cap stood at £16.05m.

Socionext is Tokyo’s largest IPO this year

Japanese chipmaker Socionext has sold 18.3 million shares at 3,650 yen each ahead of its IPO on 12 October. This will make it Tokyo’s largest IPO this year. The company develops system-on-chip products, and while the specifics of what the company does is perhaps too technical for the layman investor to understand, it has “solid cashflow and a mature business model,” Hiroaki Tomori, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset, told Bloomberg. “I don’t see much downside,” he said.

Invest defensively ahead of biggest recession

The next recession is likely to be the biggest ever, according to Keith McCullough, founder and CEO of Hedgeye Risk Management. In an interview with MarketWatch, McCullough explained that he was bearish on most stocks even though prices have tumbled, because there’ll be “no dovish pivot” from the Fed. Investors should position themselves defensively in cash, gold and the US dollar, he argued.

Naver to acquire Poshmark amid ecommerce slump

Fashion marketplace Poshmark [POSH] is being acquired by South Korea’s Naver [035420.KS] for $17.90 per share or roughly $1.2bn. Naver’s CEO said its AI recommendation tools will help to power the next phase of Poshmark’s growth – yet eyebrows are raised. Ecommerce sales are slumping and “the deal looks expensive" given Poshmark is expected to report a $70m loss this year, Oh Dong-hwan, Samsung Securities analyst, told the Financial Times.

Mortgage lenders remove and reprice mortgage products

Last week’s collapse of the pound has forced mortgage lenders to suspend products and retract or reprice offers. The share prices of HSBC [HSBA.L], Santander [BNC.L], and Nationwide [NBS.L] have all traded lower as a result. John Cronin, head of financials at Goodbody, told Reuters that investors are spooked by the fact “that effectively the UK banks are saying there’s no front book at these rates”.

AstraZeneca pulls back despite approvals

British pharma giant AstraZeneca [AZN.L] has received a series of approvals in different regions for a number of therapies in recent weeks, yet the share price has pulled back. The firms is down 7.6% in the past month. Still, CEO Pascal Soriot believes that the drugmaker’s long-term strategic focus on oncology research and development, and streamlining the business, will bear fruit.

 

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