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Small Cap Movers: N Brown to leave premium listing for junior market in week of acquisitions


N Brown Group PLC (LON:BWNG) is giving up its premium listing to enjoy the flexibility and tax benefits of the junior market.

The company’s leading shareholder and chairman, Lord Alliance, put the move forward as a condition to complete a GBP100mln pre-emptive placing.

The ‘size-inclusive’ clothier said the new environment is better suited for its current market capitalisation, which is now sitting at GBP158mln after a 90% share price tank in the past six years.

But the firm, historically known as a catalogue retailer, will be competing against pure-play giants ASOS PLC (LON:ASC) and boohoo Group PLC (LON:BOO), which dominate the e-commerce space.

N Brown is joining Revolution Bars Group PLC (LON:RBG), which transferred to the junior market in the summer to prepare for life after coronavirus (COVID-19).

Turning to the wider market, the AIM-All Share rose 3% over the week to 976, but couldn’t close the gap on the FTSE 100, which advanced 5% to 5,862.

Starting with the fallers, ‘occasion-wear’ group QUIZ PLC (LON:QUIZ) shed 14% to 5p this week after announcing its stores in England have shuttered due to the second lockdown.

‘British countryside clothier’ Joules Group PLC (LON:JOUL) was only down 4% to 102p after the high street shuttering as it expressed confidence on its online proposition, which accounts for 70% of total sales.

It was a week of acquisitions in the junior market, with Attis Oil and Gas Limited (LON:AOGL) zooming up 112% to 0.02p after unveiling a proposed merger with Tanzanian explorer Helium One.

Meanwhile, gene editing company Horizon Discovery Group PLC (LON:HZD) rocketed 111% higher to 187p after succumbing to a takeover bid from PerkinElmer Inc for GBP284mln.

Blood flow monitoring devices maker LiDCO Group PLC (LON:LID) soared by 73% to 11p on the back of an agreed takeover offer with US medtech firm Masimo for GBP31.1mln.

Cpl Resources Plc (LON:CPS) shot up 40% to 990p after accepting a GBP287mln offer by Japanese peer Outsourcing Inc, valuing the Ireland-based recruiter at a 36% premium.

Finally, Telit Communications PLC (LON:TCM) jumped 21% to 161p after confirming media speculation on a preliminary approach from asset manager DBAY Advisors.

The internet of things solutions provider also received a preliminary approach from NASDAQ-listed Lantronix but that offer was rejected, though the two remain in discussion.

“It has been comforting that the typical pattern of increased dealmaking after the summer is being maintained though it has still understandably been a very quiet year by historical standards,” noted Henrik Persson, head of strategic PLC advisory at finnCap Group PLC (LON:FCAP).

“It has been interesting to see that recent takeovers have been by larger players making strategic acquisitions of AIM companies, as opposed to the expected increase in private equity take-private transactions as valuations have remained more resilient than initially expected.”

In the natural resources sector, Pathfinder Minerals PLC (LON:PFP) tumbled 28% to 0.4p after concluding that it will have to commence legal proceedings against the Government of Mozambique following a strategic review of options.

Beowulf Mining PLC (LON:BEM) shed 14% to 4p on Friday after launching an open offer to raise up to GBP7.3mln at 3.16p, a hefty discount to Thursday’s closing price to further develop its projects in Sweden, Finland and Kosovo as well as repaying a bridge loan.

Pandemic delays hit Ascent Resources PLC (LON:AST), which descended 8% to 5p after finally agreeing a six-month extension to a memorandum of understanding signed with Cuban state-owned oil firm CUPET for onshore exploration and production.

In the power sector Rurelec PLC (LON:RUR) lost 15% to 0.7p after it said negotiations with the authorities in Argentina regarding a powerplant owned by Patagonia Energy, in which the power producer holds a 50% interest, have been slowed down by COVID-19.

Outside of AIM, but sticking with the small caps, IQ-AI Limited (LON: IQAI) mushroomed nearly four-fold to 16p after receiving US regulatory clearance for a virtual biopsy that can help assess chronic liver disease, so it can now commercialise it in the United States.

Proactive weekly oil and gas highlights: Touchstone Exploration, Deltic Energy, Scirocco, Falcon Oil

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