Flash Briefing: Rees-Mogg switches sides; Uber buys Dubai rival; PIC suspends boss

By Alec Hogg

Here are today’s global headlines:

  • Global ride hailing market leader Uber Technologies has concluded its biggest ever acquisition through the $3.1bn takeover of Middle Eastern rival Careem Networks. Buying Dubai-based Careem will enable Uber to pull back from a costly battle over market share and significantly widen its presence in a region of some 400m ahead of its forthcoming IPO. Meanwhile competitor Lyft has signalled strong investors demand ahead of its IPO on Thursday, with its offer price now likely to exceed the previously announced range of between $62 and $68 a share, valuing the company at over $23bn.
  • Britain’s leading Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has led much of the fight against prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, yesterday switched sides after it became apparent that the UK may not leave the EU after all. The Eurosceptics were shaken by a 329 to 302 defeat by the predominantly pro-Remain Parliamentarians who have now seized control of the process from Mrs May and will hold a series of “indicative” votes on various options – including not leaving the EU at all. Rees-Mogg said yesterday that unless MPs supported Mrs May’s deal, Britain may well remain in the EU, which in his mind is an even worse option.
  • In South African news, the Public Investment Corporation, custodian of the R2trn state employee retirement fund, yesterday suspended its acting chief executive Matshepo More. She is being replaced by head of the property portfolio, Vuyani Hako. The suspension came after testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into the PIC which heard about Ms More’s apparent divisive leadership style and heard claims of interference in the judicial process. Last month nine directors of the PIC resigned including chairman Mondli Gungubele, the country’s deputy minister of finance.
  • A late afternoon rally lifted the JSE all share index to a half percent better close with gaining shares outnumbering losers by almost two to one. Old Mutual and Anglo did best of the heavyweights, both up over 2%; Goldfields and Capitec did worst, both down around the same quantum. Iron Ore producer Kumba continued its recent surge, rising almost 5% to a four-year high, taking its gain over the past year to 37%. In market related news, Steinhoff is to sell its final 26% in former industrial subsidiary KAP through a bookbuild offer of those 649m shares. At the current share price this should raise just under R5bn. Steinhoff, whose share price gained 6c to 175c yesterday, successfully placed 450m KAP shares two weeks ago.