Analysts like hedge-fund manager Man Group´s drive to diversify away from its flagship AHL fund - the core of the new managemeant team´s strategy. The best example of this better balance are the successful negotiations with regulators so as to be better able to employ the group´s cash reserves now that its assets under management have decreased. Since it simply does not need as many it is using them for some strategic purchases. If late last month it acquired Boston-based rival Numeric, with $12.5bn under management, yesterday it was the turn of Pine Grove Asset Management, which sits on top of another $1bn. Just as important, the firm has also stopped haemorrhaging investors' cash at its other units, all the while slashing costs and restructuring the business.
The company has had a hard few years, there is no doubt about that. Yet management is in control and taking action. Promising a near 5% yield this year, if it hits its forecasts, The Daily Telegraph´s Questor team is keeping an eye on the shares
with a view to possibly buying in at a later stage, although for now they remain a hold.
The market landscape for retail telecommunications services is changing and that may spell trouble for the newly created Dixons Carphone. EE and Vodafone have expanded their own store estates and consumers are now more savvy when deciding on where to purchase their mobile telephones. Up until now Carphone and Phones 4U have been acting as 'middlemen', effectively taking margins away from the large telecoms operators. EE is thus now pushing for a better deal from Carphone and Phones4U. That can be a risky undertaking however, as Vodafone found out in 2006 when it pulled out of Carphone and saw its market share move quickly lower in that space.
However, for Carphone losing either EE or Vodafone would be a huge blow as it looks to tie-up with Dixons undermining a large part of the rationale for the merger. At 17 times´ broker Exane´s earnings forecasts "there may be better times to buy." So for now, 'hold' says The Times´s Tempus.
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