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Posts Tagged ‘Amelia Morris’

HMV Stock Woes Continue

HMV, the parent company of Waterstone’s and self-professed “top dog of music”, has become one of the most “shorted” UK stocks of all time, according to the Times. Almost 24% of HMV’s stock is now being borrowed as traders stake nearly 130m pounds on the chance that its share price is about to fall. Traders are thought to have sold 96.6m shares they do not own to buy them back later at a lower price. HMV’s share price has plummeted by 15% after profit warnings (brought on by the rapid decline in CD and DVD buying in favor of downloads) in the past three months and a disappointing Christmas, but experts say figures from Index Explorer show that the market believes the stock has still a long way to fall.

HMV’s share price rose a little when it emerged recently that Brandes Investment Partners, the value investor, had increased its stake in the music retailer. The American fund manager is now the group’s biggest shareholder with 40.8m shares, a 10.15% stake. Led by the secretive fund manager Amelia Morris, Brandes made hundreds of millions of pounds from investing in Marks & Spencer, having paid as little as 203p a share and sold for up to 700p a share. Brandes also owns stakes in Wm Morrison and French Connection.

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A Volatile Time in UK Publishing

The Independent’s Saeed Shah analyzes the recent report by Pearson (parent company of Penguin) that their profits will be at its highest in years, leading to a five-year-high in stock prices. But even though rumors still swirl that a private equity company could swoop in and buy the company outright – or even that it will sell its flagship newspaper, the Financial Times – chief executive Marjorie Scardino is holding fast. Scardino can enjoy her time at Pearson, Shah says, because she kept her nerve through the downturn and was brave enough to invest. A decade at the top of one of Britain’s leading companies is an achievement in itself. Scardino seems determined to see through her strategy and bask in its success.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that Brandes Investment Partners, the value investor, has increased its stake in the troubled entertainment retailer HMV. The fund manager, which is based in the US, is now the group’s largest shareholder with 40.8m shares, a 10.15pc stake. Brandes’s investment has been led by fund manager Amelia Morris, who has invested heavily in a number of UK retailers, most notably Marks & Spencer, over the past five years.