Digitalbox PLC (LON:DBOX) shares jumped 11.5% higher to 7.25p in afternoon trading after it was revealed that a Cypriot firm, Storia Credit Holdings Ltd has accumulated a near 5% holding in the firm, which owns celebrity news site Entertainment Daily and satire brand The Daily Mash.

A pair of disclosure statements showed that Storia Credit had originally built up a 3.1% holding in the AIM-listed company, but that has now increased to 4.88%.

Storia Credit specialises in the purchase from banks and finance institutions of non-performing consumer loan portfolios. The company’s website says it is also planning to expand into payment processing technology and consulting.

In a January trading update, Digitalbox said its 2019 profits, revenues and operating margins were ahead of forecasts, with the growth attributed to its Insights programme which is designed to analyse user behaviour and inform content strategy.

12.00pm: Victoria O&G plunges amid fresh arbitration claim

Victoria Oil & Gas PLC (LON:VOG) shares plunged 11.6% to 4.6p in lunchtime trading as the group faced fresh arbitration claims from its Cameroon partner, RSM Production Corporation.

RSM has filed multiple claims against Victoria’s subsidiary, Gaz du Cameroun (GDC), with the latest questioning the validity of cash calls by GDC relating to RSM’s share of the expenses for the remediation of the La-108 well at the Logbaba gas project.

Victoria said it will “vigorously defend” against the fresh claims made by RSM.

Elsewhere, laser maker 600 Group PLC (LON:SIXH) shed 24.6% to 10.6p after issuing a profit warning attributed to the coronavirus out break and deteriorating trading conditions in the US.

In a trading update, the company said the virus pandemic has disrupted shipping from Asia and, although it has few links to China, as a result, delayed deliveries are pushing sales beyond the current financial year to end-March.

In the blue-chips, Pearson PLC (LON:PSON) saw its shares fall 4.5% to 557.6p as the educational publisher, which issued a profit warning just last month, lowered its 2020 outlook once again as it revealed that its full-year 2019 results had missed expectations.

The group said the outlook for 2020 is now for an operating profit of £410mln-490mln, down from January’s guidance of £500mln-580mln.

10.35am: Bagir to sue Shandong Ruyi as it fails to trouser US$13.2mln

Bagir Group Ltd (LON:BAGR) slumped 12.5% to 0.525p as it announced it is to take action against the Shandong Ruyi Group.

Shandong Ruyi had been supposed to make a cash payment to Bagir of US$13.2mln last year but the deadline was extended to 31 March of this year on condition of Shandong Ruyi providing suit jacket manufacturing equipment, with an estimated market value of around US$1.3mln, gratis by the end of September 2019; Bagir is still waiting for the equipment to arrive.

Despite the failure of the Chinese group to come through with a cash injection, the board believes Bagir has resources to support its current day-to-day activities.

10.30am: Checkit surges as chairman buys again

Checkit PLC (LON:CKT) gained as it revealed its executive chairman Keith Daley has bought 2.5mln shares in the automated monitoring company, sending the stock 3p higher to 39.5p.

Daley paid an average of 36p per share, which was 4p a share more than he paid last week when be bought 2mln shares.

Daley’s stake now stands at just over 13mln shares, which is about 21% of the shares in issue.

9.30am: Daejan taken out in £1.3bn deal; Hornby steams higher after fund-raising 

Daejan Holdings PLC (LON:DJAN) was a strong gainer in early trade on Friday after the FTSE 250 property company revealed it is to be taken out by Centremanor in a deal worth 8,050p a share, sparking a 55% increase in the share price.

Daejan’s shares soared 2,830p higher to 8,000p as its board has agreed to the offer that values the loss-making property group at around £1.31bn.

Centremanor is a property investment and development company in the commercial, industrial and residential sectors that is part of the Freshwater Group.

Meanwhile, Hornby PLC (LON:HRN) steamed 2.8% higher to 37p after the train set and Airfix kits maker announced plans to place shares at 36p a pop.

The company is aiming to raise roughly £15mln before expenses and seeing as its two largest stakeholders, Phoenix Asset Management Partners and Artemis Investment Management, have pledged to support the fund-raising, it is practically certain to hit that target. Between them, Phoenix and Artemis control around 90% of the company’s issued share capital.

The funds will be used to “reinvigorate the group’s key brands through accelerated product development”, to invest in digital market, to upgrade the group’s central systems and to strengthen its balance sheet.

Proactive news headlines:

Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (LON:COPL) (CSE:XOP) is to receive C$200,000 as a loan from its chief executive, Arthur Millholland, so that it can continue discussions with investors and service providers over plans for the OPL 226 asset. This year the company wants to start drilling an appraisal well in OPL 226 in Nigeria. The loan will cover working capital, providing room for the OPL 226 talks to continue.

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) said its Kiziltepe mine in Turkey exceeded its production guidance in 2019. The mine, which is part of the Red Rabbit joint venture (JV) with Proccea Construction, produced 27,985 ounces of gold in 2019, which was comfortably above guidance of 25,000 ounces (oz) and up by around 12% on 2018.

Touchstone Exploration Inc. (LON:TXP) (TSX:TXP), an oil and gas exploration and production company active in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, said it will be holding a live online investor presentation and Q&A session for investors at 7.00pm GMT on Tuesday 25 February. The group added that the webcast will be recorded and made available on after the event.

AdEPT Technology Group PLC (LON:ADT) has unveiled plans to raise up to £4mln to fund potential acquisitions as part of a wider strategy to expand the business. The IT services firm said the funds will be raised through a placing of around 1.24mln new shares to certain existing shareholders and institutional and other investors at a price of 320p each, an 11% discount to its closing price on Thursday, through an accelerated bookbuild which will begin immediately.

Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC), a leading global immunodiagnostics group, has been awarded the ‘Winning in Business in Spain’ award at the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) UK-Spain Business Awards held on 20 February 2020 at the Madrid Stock Exchange. The awards celebrate the extensive commercial relationships between the United Kingdom and Spain.

Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas Ltd. (LON:ECO) (CVE:EOG), the oil and gas exploration company with licences in highly prospective regions in South America and Africa, announced that it has been recognized as a 2020 TSX Venture 50 company, an annual ranking of top-performing companies on the TSX Venture Exchange over the last year, for the third consecutive year. Gil Holzman, president and CEO of Eco Atlantic commented: “This recognition is a testament to the substantial progress the Company has made over the past few years; delivering on strategy, exploration success, strong financial position, and value creation to shareholders. We are confident that 2020 will be another exciting and busy year for Eco as we are pushing to make progress in both our Guyana and Namibia operations, and we look forward to updating our shareholders on progress in due course.”

Verona Pharma PLC (LON:VRP) (NASDAQ:VRNA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on respiratory diseases,  said it will report its audited financial results for the full year ended December 31, 2019 on Thursday, February 27, 2020 and host an investment community conference call at 9:00 am EST/2:00pm GMT to discuss the full-year financial results and provide a corporate update.

accesso Technology Group PLC (LON:ASCO), the premier technology solutions provider to leisure, entertainment, hospitality, attractions and cultural markets, said it will announce its financial results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2019 on Wednesday 18 March 2020.

Amur Minerals Corporation (LON:AMUR), the nickel-copper sulphide mineral exploration and resource development company focused on the far east of Russia, announced that it yesterday granted 10,000,000 warrants over the company’s ordinary shares with an exercise price of 2.12p each to the participants of the fund-raising completed on 4 November 2019.  Additionally, the group said, 3,000,000 warrants over the company’s shares with an exercise price of 2.12p each have been granted to SP Angel Corporate Finance. Both sets of warrants have an expiry date of 20 February 2023.

Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH), the rapidly growing specialist CRO pharmaceutical services company which has a focus on orphan drugs and is a world leader in the provision of virology and vaccine challenge study services, and has Europe’s only 24 bedroom quarantine clinic with onsite virology lab in Queen Mary’s Hospital London, announced that it will be attending and presenting at the ShareSoc Growth Company Seminar on February 25, 2020 at  DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, One Piccadilly Place, 1 Auburn Street, Manchester M1 3DG . The group said Cathal Friel, Open Orphan’s executive chairman will be presenting from 18:40 onwards to update existing and potential investors on the company’s business plans for 2020.