Wednesday newspaper round-up: Oxford Instruments, Asda, Bulb, Netflix

A few weeks after a short-lived £1.7 billion bid to take over the rival Oxford Instruments, Spectris, the FTSE 250 precision engineering group, has sold off a large part of its own business for £400 million. The chief executive has made it clear, though, that it could revive an Oxford Instruments deal. – The Times
Shares in a technology start-up part-owned by the UK taxpayer lost 16 per cent of their value yesterday after reports that the business had issued “misleading” financial projections and “overstated its prospects” to investors. Arqit Quantum, a Nasdaq-listed IT security company backed by Rishi Sunak’s Future Fund, claimed before the completion of a Spac merger that the business had $130 million in “signed committed revenue contracts”. – The Times

Asda’s private equity owner has claimed the value of its investment in the supermarket chain has soared by nearly 20 times as it gears up for a potential bid for the pharmacy chain Boots. The London-based TDR Capital said its stake as co-owner of the grocer was now worth €1.7bn (£1.4bn) on paper, or 19.8 times its original investment, indicating that the finance group put in just over £70m of fresh cash to back the deal, according to documents seen by the Financial Times. – Guardian

The boss of collapsed company Bulb Energy has been criticised for continuing to draw a £250,000 salary, funded by UK taxpayers. Once the seventh-biggest energy supplier, Bulb was effectively nationalised in November 2021 after collapsing amid the surge in global energy prices. That left the taxpayer with a potential bill of up to £3bn, making it the biggest state bailout since the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2008. – Guardian

Netflix has admitted that its number of subscribers is falling for the first time in more than a decade, partly as a result of its decision to pull out of Russia. The US streaming giant lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of the year, far below Wall Street predictions that it would add 2.5m subscribers. Netflix shares plummeted 26pc in after-hours trading as it warned it would lose a further 2m subscribers in the second quarter of the year. – Telegraph

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