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FTSE 100 Live: Brent crude price up again, Nelson Peltz joins Unilever board


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Glaxo unveils $2.1bn deal for US vaccines business

GlaxoSmithKline today bolstered its vaccines business with plans for the acquisition of Boston, Massachusetts-based Affinivax in a deal worth an initial $2.1 billion (£1.66 billion).

Affinivax is involved in the development of next-generation pneumococcal vaccines, including for meningitis, bloodstream infections and milder diseases such as sinusitis.

As well as the upfront cost of the deal, GSK has agreed two further milestone payments of $600 million (£475.5 million) based on meeting clinical development milestones. The move comes as GSK prepares for this summer’s separation of its consumer healthcare division.

GSK’s chief scientific officer Dr Hal Barron said: “The proposed acquisition further strengthens our vaccines R&D pipeline, provides access to a new, potentially disruptive technology, and broadens GSK’s existing scientific footprint in the Boston area.

GSK’s shares were 5.8p higher at 1733.8p today.

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Nelson Peltz joins Unilever board

Activist investor Nelson Peltz is to join the Unilever board after the Trian fund management business he founded built a 1.5% stake.

The Dove-to-Marmite consumer goods giant said his appointment as a non-executive director will be effective from July 20.

Peltz has previously served on the boards of Procter & Gamble, Heinz and Mondelēz.

He said today: “I am delighted to be joining the Board of Unilever. We believe it is a company with significant potential, through leveraging its portfolio of strong consumer brands and its geographical footprint.

“Trian has made a considerable investment in Unilever. We look forward to working collaboratively with management and the board to help drive Unilever’s strategy, operations, sustainability, and shareholder value for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

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Brent crude at $124 a barrel, FTSE 100 steady

Brent crude is up to $124 a barrel after supply concerns were fuelled by the EU’s decision to ban 90% of Russian crude imports by the end of the year.

The upward momentum also reflected a potential demand surge from China amid moves to reopen Beijing and Shanghai following recent Covid restrictions.

The Brent price is now firmly above $120 a barrel for the first time in over two months, having risen for the past eight sessions.

The focus now turns to Thursday’s meeting of OPEC+ ministers, although there are few signs that they are planning to change the pace of monthly output.

It emerged yesterday that the cost of refuelling a typical diesel car is now above £100 after the AA said the average price reached 182.59p a litre.

Despite the ongoing inflationary pressures, there are signs that markets are becoming more comfortable with the pace of the monetary policy tightening needed to bring prices back towards central bank targets.

The FTSE 100 index is within 100 points of its February high and is expected to stay at 7,600 when trading resumes this morning.

US markets, which rallied towards the end of last week, are also pointing to a steady start after yesterday’s Memorial Day holiday.

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