Rumours of a Collins Stewart sale resurface

Observers of the sector believe that several smaller finance houses are examining a bid for Collins Stewart, and that Close Brothers - which owns a significant fund-management arm, the market-making business Winterflood, and a growing corporate-finance business - has emerged as one of the most credible bidders. Close Brothers shares dipped 5.5p to 763p yesterday.

Mr Smith has repeatedly denied that Collins Stewart, which he joined in 1996, is up for sale, but rumours of bid interest refuse to die.

The attraction of the story is that there is little obvious synergy between Collins Stewart's old-style stockbroking and corporate finance work - which made the group £38.2m in operating profits last year - and the new inter-dealer derivatives broking business which Mr Smith bolstered through acquisitions over the past few years. That side of the business, which made £51.9m in operating profits, is seen as having much greater growth potential and accounts for the significant majority of Collins Stewart Tullett's £1.01bn market value.

A sale of the stockbroking arm would at least crystallise its value, which Mr Smith has argued in the past is greater than the stock market is willing to believe. Collins Stewart Tullett shares fell 1.5p to 477p.

Dealers were also excited yesterday by a surge of interest in Matalan, the discount stores group that is regularly tipped as a takeover target for bigger retailers with an interest in its portfolio of out-of-town stores. Asda is often in the frame.

Matalan's stock has performed well since results last week which showed that, although sales are falling, profits are holding up thanks to improved efficiency throughout the business. It closed at 190.25p, up 5p,in volume not seen on more than a handful of days since the company floated. More than 4 per cent of the company's shares went through the Stock Exchange, and day traders were particularly active in the expectation of an imminent bid.

The stock market resumed the upward trend that has been halted on only two sessions in the past dozen. Buoyed by bid chatter and positive sentiment towards the heavyweight banking and oil stocks, the FTSE 100 ended up 28.7 points at 5,245.9, another three-year best. The banks, which account for about one-fifth of the value of the blue-chip index have been rising on hopes that interest rate cuts are imminent, taking some of the pressure off the customers who have taken out loans, and holding out the prospect of a renewed uptick in mortgage lending soon. HBOS (up 16.5p at 891p) and Northern Rock (up 10.5p to 823.5p) were the two stocks singled out by Goldman Sachs as it turned more positive on the sector. Other notable share-price rises included Royal Bank of Scotland's 21p climb to 1,738p, HSBC's 13.5p jump to 911.5p, Alliance & Leicester's 2.5p rise to 898.5p, and the 7.5p gain for Barclays, at 571p.

Much of what went down on Tuesday went back up again yesterday. Provident Financial has unsettled the car dealers by saying its Yes car-credit business was feeling the force of a consumer slowdown, but yesterday Reg Vardy said it was enjoying pretty good sales, particularly for company cars. So while Reg Vardy shares were up 13p at 547p, Inchcape and Pendragon were also motoring ahead, up 38p at 2,019p and 5p at 303p, respectively. Even Provident Financial bounced 1.5p to 674p.

There was a big share sale by Ajit Patel, the chief executive of Goldshield, who is on police bail in a Serious Fraud Office investigation into claims that the drug company was among several defrauding the National Health Service. His investment vehicle sold 400,000 shares - worth £1.05m - the proceeds of which will be split between Mr Patel and his brother. Goldshield shares were up 1p to 268.5p.

Shares in the nightclubs owner Urbium got their groove on, up a round 100p at 930p. The company rejected the advances of Regent Inns, which bid 975p a share, but said that other financial bidders had asked to dance. Urbium's shareholders are hoping for a bidding contest, but Regent's appeared content that it has left the floor, since its shares were unchanged at 78.5p.

Speculative traders were buying into Biofuels Corporation, the biodiesel company which has preliminary results due this morning. They were hoping for a more positive outlook than that given in April, when the company said the demand for biodiesel was not proving as strong as hoped. The stock was 6p better at one point, but closed up just 0.5p at 145p as more cautious traders took their profits.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?