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The Independent Online
Newcastle Building Society yesterday became the latest to close several of its accounts in a bid to stop speculators hoping to benefit from a free shares handout in the event of a takeover or flotation, writes Nic Cicutti.

The society announced that its Small Savers and Black Callant accounts, which both conferred membership rights, would close immediately, along with its Nova Plus savings scheme.

Instead, Newcastle will offer deposit accounts, which it said would still offer competitive rates of interest but not entitle members to a share of the society.

Bill Midgley, the society's chief executive, said: "We are being indundated by speculators whose intentions are purely to reap the rewards of a hypothetical conversion or merger.