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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Stocks & Shares

Australian share market rises on takeover frenzy

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The ASX 200 index added 0.26 per cent to 7,381 with gains led by education stocks, miners, banks and oil and gas firms

The Australian share market has been boosted by a takeover frenzy including poker machine maker Aristocrat Leisure’s $3.9 billion takeover of the world’s largest supplier of online gaming and sports betting software.

The All Ordinaries Index came off its daily highs but still rose one-fifth of a per cent to 7,690.

The ASX 200 index added 0.26 per cent to 7,381 with gains led by education stocks, miners, banks and oil and gas firms.

Leading the losses were healthcare, real estate, technology, consumer staples and industrial stocks.

Oil prices rose to a three-year high on forecasts of a supply crunch that boosted energy firms.

Brent crude was up 1 per cent to $US85.68 a barrel.

The national average weekly petrol price lifted 6.9 cents to a 13-year high of 160.7 cents a litre.

Nickel Mines (+5.1pc) was the best performer on the ASX 200, while WiseTech Global (-2.9pc) was the worst.

Santos shares (1.4pc) rose on higher oil prices. It welcomed the dismissal of an appeal against its Narrabri Gas Project in northern New South Wales.

The oil and gas producer said it Santos now looked forward to getting on with its work in regional NSW.

Managing director and chief executive Kevin Gallagher said that, while the legal process had pushed the timelines for the project back 12 months, Santos was committed to bringing much-needed domestic gas to the state.

This decision now allows us to get on with the appraisal drilling phase of the project and create jobs, drive investment and attract new businesses to the region, building a better future for the people of Narrabri, Mr Gallagher said.

Senex Energy jumped nearly 15 per cent after saying South Korean steel giant POSCO wanted to take it over for $815 million.

Travel stocks were boosted as News South Wales reached its 80 per cent double-vaccinated target at the weekend.

Poker machines manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure told the market that it would buy a UK online gambling company for 2.1 billion pounds ($3.9 billion), allowing it to expand into new growth areas, including real-money gaming (RMG).

Shareholders of London-listed Playtech are being offered 6 pounds 80 pence ($12.61) per share, a 58.4 per cent premium to the company’s closing price on Friday.

Aristocrat said Playtech’s board and its largest shareholder, with a stake of about 21 per cent, have backed its offer.

The business will be ideally positioned to unlock sustainable shareholder value by seizing opportunities in the fast-growing global online RMG segment as they continue to open up, particularly in North America, Aristocrat chief executive Trevor Croker said.

The Australian company said it would fund the deal with a $1.3 billion equity raising, alongside new debt and existing cash.

Aristocrat shares were halted at $45.79 for the capital raising.

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