Barclays stuck to its ‘equal weight’ rating for Ascential and increased its share price target after the events, information and analytics company raised £153m to fund acquisitions and posted positive interim results.
Ascential sold shares representing 9% of its share capital overnight. It will use part of the money to finance its purchase of 51% of ASR for an initial sum of $122m with the option to buy two more 24.5% stakes.
The FTSE 250 group also published forecast-beating results, swinging to a £3.5m first-half operating profit from a £76m loss a year earlier.
Barclays said it knew the ASR deal had stretched the balance sheet and that management, whose record is largely sound, had pointed to a pipeline of deals. The bank increased its price target on Ascential shares to 450p from 415p.
“Without the placing this would be a good set of results,” Barclays said in a note to clients. “Overall we think this move makes sense.”