Ritblat takes 10% stake in Herring

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The Independent Online
SHARES in Herring Baker Harris jumped 26 per cent, from 38p to 51p, yesterday after the rival property agent Conrad Ritblat Sinclair Goldsmith bought a 10 per cent stake, writes Tom Stevenson.

John Ritblat, chairman of both CRSG and the property group British Land, dismissed speculation that the stake was anything more than a good trade investment. He refused to say whether it would be increased further.

Although the two companies' operations are thought to be complementary, geographically and in terms of type of business, Herring Baker is likely to be wary of any merger proposals. It recently experienced the acrimonious break- up of the marriage that created the company in January 1992.

Before yesterday's move, the shares had lost almost four-fifths of their value since the merger came to an end in May, when the founders Michael Baker and Simon Harris walked out.

Mr Ritblat will hope the pounds 600,000 investment performs better than a recent stake taken by British Land, which spent pounds 270,000 on a small minority holding in Bredero Properties.

Bredero, which was under offer at the time, fell to Slough Estates, which plans to delist the shares.