Market Report: Takeover bid talk boosts C&W as gossips dial in

TELECOM groups Cable and Wireless and Orange survived a blue- chip somersault which killed what, at one time, seemed likely to be to another record-breaking run.

Takeover gossips dialled into Cable; Orange continued to enjoy Thursday's upbeat trading statement and renewed speculation about British Aerospace's 21.1 per cent shareholding.

Cable shares climbed 25p to 700, a closing peak, in brisk trading. Optimistic talk of an 800p a share offer orchestrated by Lazard Freres, the merchant bank, was behind the activity.

The telecoms group was said to be in the sights of Continental interests; Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, operating in tandem, were identified as the most likely predators.

Rumours have often swirled around Cable. It is believed to have held talks with a number of overseas group and on at least one occasion got round the negotiating with BT. If Cable did attract a bid it could prompt BT, still seeking a deal after the American MCI group got away, to mount a counter strike.

Orange, up 21p at 381p, felt the warmth of analytical upgrades. But that BAe stake, which logic would suggest must be shortly on the move, was an important influence. It is a peripheral interest of BAe and a tantalising attraction to a veritable network of communication groups.

Colt Telecom, a takeover candidate for much of its short-quoted life, jumped 72.5p to 1,502.5p.

At one time Footsie was up 46.4 points. By mid-afternoon it was off 36.7, closing down 12.5 at 5,782.3. Supporting indices, once again, blissfully ignored the discomfort of their peers. The mid cap index gained 20.7 to a 5,357.6 peak and the small cap indicator also went to a new high, up 18.5 to 2,554.9.

British Airway's fell 25.5p to 574p after confirming it was considering a proposal from National Express for a joint bid to run the Eurostar rail service. NE advanced 6.5p to 781.5p. Its year's results are due next week; around pounds 81m is expected, up from pounds 63.9m. Railtrack was another on the right line, up 31p to 971p on its possible channel rail link involvement.

Ahead of next week's maiden results Diageo fell 23p to 675p. The international spirits giant held what was regarded as a cautious investment presentation in New York on Thursday. Great Universal Stores shaded 11.5p to 773.5p after an $831m bid for the shares it did not own in Metromail, a US information company.

BAe and Rolls-Royce climbed on the lifting of the ceilings on foreign owned shares to 49.5 per cent. Rolls scored the biggest percentage gain, up 6.5p to 275p; BAe rose 16p to 1,951p.

Elementis, the chemical group which used to be called Harrisons & Crosfield, led the small cap progress, improving 8.5p to 124.5p. The pub chain Greenalls stirred 28.5p higher to 470p and WH Smith, for so long in the doldrums, rose 31.5p to 541p, highest for more than five years.

Bid action was evident on the undercards. Media Business gained 30.5p to 132p after saying it was in talks which could lead to a bid; London & Metropolitan, a property group, gained 2.5p to 12.25p as Grantchester appeared with an pounds 6.3m agreed share exchange offer.

The toy maker Hornby was suspended for much of the session after climbing 82p to 282.5p at one time. Trading resumed at 257.5p, up 57p on the day when the company said it was not talking "with any party" about a takeover or sale. There were early suggestions that large investors had been approached with a 300p-a-share offer.

Oriel, the insurance group, edged ahead 2.5p to 95p after it disclosed talks were on which could lead to bids for all or parts of the business. A 6 per cent stake changed hands recently.

Rage, the computer games group, rose 3.25p to 14.25p in a remarkable 27.1 million turnover; it confirmed a deal to produce a new game for the Sony Playstation.

Limit, the, the Lloyd's insurance group, held at 178.5p after a George Soros trust said it had sold 5.6 million shares at 179p.

Worries about British Biotech, following Thursday's suspension of Dr Andrew Millar, director of clinical research, continued to damage the shares, off a further 1.5p to 68.5p.

Verity, with a wafer thin sound system jumped 7.25p to a 86.5p peak on hopes of more licensing agreements are about to be clinched.

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: Oil Operations

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

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there