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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

Helpdesk Analyst

£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London