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ASX 200 ends flat on Friday

ASX 200
Credit: Cimexus

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) finished flat today at 6,539 points.

Here are some of the highlights from the ASX:

Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL) bids for Regis Healthcare Ltd (ASX: REG)

Soul Patts has made a takeover bid for Regis Healthcare, but that was promptly rejected.

The investment conglomerate made a bid, with its partner Ashburn Pty Ltd (controlled by Regis co-founder Mr Bryan Dorman), of $1.85 per share. That bid represented a 25% premium to the closing share price from yesterday.

Ashburn controls 27.2% of Regis’ ordinary shares on issue.

Soul Patts expected that the proposal would be attractive to Regis shareholders.

The Chair of Soul Patts, Rob Millner, said: “WHSP is a patient and long-term investor and is committed to providing access to capital and support to Regis as it navigates through this challenging period and transitions to a new operating environment in the future.

“Given the regulatory uncertainty and funding challenges currently facing the aged care industry, WHSP believes that Regis’ long-term prospects will be best served in a privately owned setting and that WHSP’s long investment horizons and access to capital make it and Ashburn Pty Ltd logical partners to oversee Regis’ growth and development.”

The Regis board rejected the bid from the ASX 200 investment conglomerate because it “materially undervalued the company having regard to its medium to long term prospects.”

Regis is also expecting that the government will commit more funding to the aged care sector in the May 2021 budget. The board also pointed to the easing impacts of COVID-19.

The Regis share price rose over 23% today. The Soul Patts share price fell around 4%, however the company did also go ex-dividend today.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)

Today, CBA acknowledged the outcome of APRA’s review of the progress made against its remedial action plan.

APRA’s validation review found that CBA has made significant progress in implementing the remedial action plan. As a result, the operational risk overlay imposed on CBA is reduced from $1 billion to $500 million with immediate effect. This reduction represents an increase in the CET1 capital ratio of 17 basis points for the ASX 200 bank.

The CBA CEO said that there is still a substantial amount of work to do.

The CBA share price finished up around 1.4%.

Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB)

The Mesoblast share price jumped 11% after announcing a partnership with Novartis for the development, manufacture and commercialisation of remestemcel-L. The initial focus will be developing a treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), including that associated with COVID-19.

Novartis will make a $50 million upfront payment including US$25 million in equity. Mesoblast may receive a total of US$505 million pending the achievement of pre-commercialisation milestones for ARDS indicators. Mesoblast may receive additional payments post-commercialisation of up to US$750 million based on achieving certain sales milestones and tiered double digit royalties on product sales.

The ASX 200 company will retain full rights and economics for remestemcel-L for graft versus host disease, and Novartis has the option to, if exercised, become the commercial distributor outside of Japan.

Mesoblast CEO Dr Silviu Itescu said: “Our collaboration with Novartis will help ensure that remestemcel-L could become available to the many patients suffering from ARDS, the principal cause of mortality in COVID-19 infection. This agreement is in line with our corporate strategy to collaborate and partner with world-leading major pharma companies in order to maximise market access for our innovative cellular medicines.”

Kogan.com Ltd (ASX: KGN)

The Kogan.com share price fell more than 4% today after giving a trading update at its annual general meeting (AGM).

Kogan.com said that in the year to date for FY21 to October 2020, gross sales went up 99.8%, gross profit increased 131.7% and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped 268.8%.

The company said that in the year to date, it has seen a strong performance from its product divisions and Kogan Marketplace. The company pointed out that November and December are typically the most important months of the year for the business.

It has been investing in its marketing to grow its customer base and brand, which it expects will have long-term benefits for the company.

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Tristan Harrison owns shares of Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Kogan.com ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Kogan.com ltd. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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