Market Report: Bid talk circles JJB as tycoon takes 10 per cent stake

The entrepreneur has built up the investment through his Sports World International vehicle, which he also uses to control the Sports Soccer chain, a rival to JJB. Mr Ashley's announcement sparked speculation that he might want to bid for the whole group. However, analysts were quick to rule out such a scenario. They pointed out that such a move would give him a market share of more than 50 per cent of the sportswear arena, a figure that would be unacceptable to the competition authorities.

Richard Ratner, at Seymour Pierce, said: "What Mr Ashley's motives are we do not know, especially as he is killing JJB every time he opens one of his shops near an existing JJB store." Some believe Mr Ashley may look to make a quick turn from his minority stake in JJB. Earlier this year, he took a 4.6 per cent shareholding in Umbro and sold it quickly afterwards at a small profit. He is also said to have made money from an investment in the discount retailer Matalan.

Elsewhere, Aegis fell 5.5p to 132.5p, with trading in the stock dominated by speculation that Publicis will abandon its plans to buy the UK media group. After the close of the market, the French advertising group confirmed the rumours, saying a tie-up was "not in the best interests of its shareholders". Gains on Wall Street, thanks to US data which showed a smaller-than-expected rise in inflation, buoyed the London market, pushing the FTSE 100 up 9 points to 5,275. Mike Lenhoff, at Brewin Dolphin Securities, argued that equity markets on both sides of the Atlantic are oversold and due a rebound. Mr Lenhoff said: "The FTSE 100 is not quite as oversold as the S&P 500 but it too is attractively valued." He calculates that the UK's blue-chip index trades at just 12.3 times forward earnings. The FTSE 250 added 4 points to 5,275.

BSkyB rose 11.5p to 535.5p after the satellite broadcaster confirmed it may use the proceeds from its £1bn bond issue to fund acquisitions. Recent speculation has suggested that Sky might be tempted to enter the broadband arena via the purchase of one of the UK's smaller service providers. These include Easynet, 7p higher to 96.5p, PlusNet, up 0.5p to 255.5p, and Pipex, steady at 8.75p.

William Morrison Supermarkets gained 1.75p to 173.25p despite bearish comments from Deutsche Bank. The German broker warned its clients that next week's first-half results from the food retailer are likely to be disappointing. "We don't expect good news on trading or current conditions," Deutsche said, which cut back its price target on the stock to 180p from 200p.

Diageo gained 17p to 830p after UBS upgraded its rating on the drink's giant to "buy" from "neutral" and set a 960p price target. The Swiss broker believes that Diageo's forecast of 4 per cent growth next year is too cautious given the strong momentum it is enjoying in the US. UBS expressed surprise at the recent underperformance of the group's shares which seem to have ignored positive news flow from the company, such as a bigger-than-expected stock buy-back programme.

Among small caps, 2Ergo ticked 1p higher to 188.5p after the software group announced the roll-out of a series of its services in the US. IndigoVision jumped 13p to 167p after the purchase of 10,000 shares at 161p by Barry Keepence, the chief technology officer. Share dealings by IndigoVision directors tend to be a good indicator of the stock's future performance. At the start of last year they gobbled up stock at 39p and repeated the exercise in June, at 59p, and in December, at 73.5p.

Copper Resources ticked 1p higher to 38p as investors responded to Thursday's late-breaking director share purchase. Mitchell Alland, the executive vice chairman of the miner, disclosed the acquisition of 100,000 shares at 37p after the bell.

Alphameric was steady at 92.5p as brokers struggled to clear a large seller from the market. Asia Energy soared 17.5p to 652.5p after the coal miner boasted that the Asia Development Bank is interested in financing its Bangladesh project. Cambrian Mining, which has an 11.3 per cent stake in Asia Energy, rose 2.5p to 148.5p.

Finally, Claims People fell 0.13p to 1.62p as Seymour Pierce cut its recommendation on the provider of support services to the insurance industry. Slashing its stance to "hold" from "buy", the broker warned that the benign weather in the UK will impact the group's financial performance going forward. The broker believes the next two month will be crucial for Claims People, which specialises in assessing insurance claims.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?