Mega merger off
The proposed $35bn (€26bn) merger between US-based Omnicom Group and France's Publicis Groupe has been called off as the obstacles to moulding the two rivals into the world's largest advertising agency proved too much. The deal, heralded last July as a merger of equals that would enable the two agencies to compete more effectively in the digital arena, foundered on issues ranging from its complex tax structure to the firms' divergent cultures.
The two sides were also losing major clients – more than $1.5bn in the past month alone – and did not want to let the uncertainty continue. Both companies have operations in Dublin.
Johnston Press, which sold its Irish operations last month, unveiled a £360m capital refinancing plan designed to reverse a long-term decline in revenue. The company plans to invest surplus cash in its digital business, where revenue is growing, in sharp contrast to the falling circulation of its newspapers and a decline in print ad revenue.
As part of its refinancing, Johnston Press plans to raise £2.3m by placing 13.68 million shares at 17 pence a piece - a discount of 29pc to the stock's Thursday close.
UK FACTORY OUTPUT UP
British factory output grew at its fastest pace in nearly 15 years during the first quarter of 2014 and the trade deficit narrowed, official data showed yesterday, adding to signs that the economy is rebalancing. The Office for National Statistics said manufacturing output grew by 1.4pc in the first three months of the year, up from 0.6pc in the last three months of 2013.
This was the best calendar quarter since the third quarter of 1999, as the sector recovers from a steep slump after the financial crisis, and the strongest growth for any three-month period since October 2010.
GERMAN EXPORTS FALL
German exports posted their biggest fall in nearly a year in March and imports also dipped as the crisis in Ukraine and a slowdown in China weighed, narrowing the trade surplus and confirming trade was a drag on growth this year.
Figures from the Federal Statistics Office showed seasonally-adjusted exports slipped 1.8pc on the month, their second consecutive fall, and imports dipped 0.9pc, pushing the trade surplus down to €14.8bn. The consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of economists had been for shipments abroad to rise by 1pc and for imports to increase by 0.5pc.