Market Report: Talk of Persimmon swoop adds shine to Wimpey

Among the most popular tales recited by brokers was of a move by Persimmon, down 6p at 821p, to buy its rival housebuilder George Wimpey, up 3p at 417.25p.

Those who know the housebuilding sector well agreed that the tie-up makes sense for Persimmon, pointing out that if it were to execute such a coup the group would be propelled into the FTSE 100.

At present, Persimmon is dependent on the stagnant UK housing market, but the purchase of Wimpey would give it access to the booming US market. Commenting on the speculation, Evolution Securities said: "We think a bid for Wimpey, at even a 20 per cent premium to its current share price, would be good news for Persimmon."

But the broker warned that a takeover is unlikely to be imminent. Persimmon will probablychange its chief executive next year and, according to Evolution, the incumbent, John White, is unlikely to take on such a major initiative as the purchase of Wimpey at the end of his reign.

Meanwhile, in the FTSE 100, Scottish Power, up 13p to 525p, Lloyds TSB, 7p higher at 465.5p, and BOC, 44p stronger at 1,128p, were boosted by bid rumours.

Over the summer, the trio have been repeatedly tipped as vulnerable to takeover. Gossips suggesta move on BOC may come as early as next week, and Basf, the German chemicals maker, was the latest company to be talked of as interested in buying the industrial gases group. Credit Suisse First Boston was sceptical about a Basf/ BOC deal. The Swiss broker said: "BOC doesn't fit Basf's publicly stated acquisition targets."

CSFB believes an offer for the company from another player within the industrial gases industry, possibly in conjunction with a private-equity house, is much more likely. BOC refused to comment on the speculation yesterday.

In the FTSE 250, which closed 6.2 points lower at 7,792.3,Pilkington was one of the best performers. The glass maker gained 7p to 139.5p as traders piled into the stock hoping it will receive an offer soon. More than 37 million shares were traded as, once again, investors got excited about the old story of the company being bought by its biggest shareholder, Nippon Sheet Glass.

Should the Japanese group launch such a move, it would need to persuade Pilkington's bosses to remainin their posts as Nippon lacks an international management team. This will have to be agreed before a bid takes place.

Invensys dropped 0.5p to 14.5p after UBS downgraded its stance on the engineer to "neutral" from "buy". The broker worries that despite years of restructuring, Invensys is still bleeding cash.

Somerfield rose 1p to 199.5p on word the Apax Partners-led consortium willunveil its offer for the convenience-store operator next week. If you believe yesterday's gossip, the private-equity firm's offer should come in at 225p a share. Bulls of Somerfield hope this will flush out a counter-offer from Wal-Mart. The US retail giant controls 17 per cent of the UK groceries market, and a combination with Somerfield would take this figure to 23 per cent. This is well short of Tesco's 30 per cent market share, which is why analysts believe Wal-Mart will have little trouble getting the green light for a deal from the regulators.

Jarvis, having completed its debt-for-equity swap, fell 5p to 102p amid worry about a large overhang of stock in the market. The US hedge funds who bought into the support services group through its debt have had their holdings converted into Jarvis shares.

Many of these funds are mandated to invest only in fixed-income securities and are now forced to sell their Jarvis shares as soon as they can. Whether they make a profit will depend on them getting more from the sale of Jarvis stock than they spent on buying the company's debt.

Hotgroup ticked 0.5p higher to 20.25p as DC Thomson, the Scottish publishing group, continued to add to its shareholding in the online recruitment specialist. This week, hotgroup recommended investors accept a 20.25p-a-share cash offer from Trinity Mirror. MediaZest, unchanged at 43.5p, disclosed that its chairman, the retail supremo John Lovering, raised his stake in the group to 3.5 per cent from 3.2. MediaZest, which floated in February, focuses on the growing in-store marketing industry.

Finally, Vimio enjoyed a strong debut on AIM. The group specialises in developing media distribution technology for mobile-phone networks and, having raised £5.6m at 100p, saw its shares soar to 139p by the close of business. Vimio says it needs the fresh cash to fund its expansion into the Far East.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
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

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee