Market Report: May Gurney cleans up in bidding battle

Never have binmen been so in demand in the City. A £221m knockout offer in the bidding battle for the maintenance, waste and recycling supplier May Gurney Integrated Services saw punters pile in.

The construction group Kier is now the front-runner and has outbid rival Costain with a 315p-a-share bid. The offer has been recommended, and the price is at a 71 per cent premium to May Gurney's closing price on 25 March, when it announced its proposed £380m all-share merger with Costain, and a 35 per cent premium to Costain's bid. May Gurney cleaned up with a rise of 46.5p, or 18 per cent, to 299.5p on news of the deal.

Kier plans to fund the deal with a mixture of cash and new shares.

Analysts at Oriel Securities like the sound of the deal for Kier, and rate the group a buy with a 1,524p price target. Kier lost 66p to 1,199p. Analysts at Liberum Capital said Costain could not "justify the same level of synergies" and is thought to be unlikely to make a new bid. It lost 4p to 278.5p.

Tuesday was the blue chips' best day in nearly four months, and the FTSE 100 collected another 25.64 points to 6,431.76. A poor German IFO business sentiment survey fuelled further speculation that a rate cut from the European Central Bank is on the cards in Europe, helping London and European stocks up.

Traders were on notice in London to be wary of reacting to unsubstantiated news after a hacked Twitter account at the news agency AP on Tuesday sent out false claims of two explosions at the White House. Wall Street panicked and the Dow plunged briefly.

Hugh Taggart of the news analytics service RavenPack said: "We have been warning clients on the dangers of using sources like Twitter in isolation for detecting and trading on individual events."

Banks were in focus again as Barclays, down 3.75p to 294.55p, reported a 25 per cent pre-tax profit drop for its first quarter, while Lloyds Banking Group's plan to sell 632 branches to Co-op collapsed. Lloyds, up 0.87p to 51.95p, will float the branches as TSB separately on the stock market.

Over on the mid-tier index, the paper and plastic-packaging specialist DS Smith said it expects to deliver operating profit "fully in line with expectations", and its shares packed in a 17.3p gain to 233p – the day's top riser.

There were more "in line with expectations" updates for the publishers Reed Elsevier and UBM, but their shares were static at 778.5p and up 4p to 690p respectively.

The set-top box maker Pace said its first-half sales will be up, and it produced a 7p gain to 239p.

Computacenter, one of the UK's biggest IT groups, issued a profit warning, blaming troubles in Europe, and it crashed 67.9p to 470.1p.

The Jordan-based drug company Hikma Pharmaceuticals was the target of gossips speculating that the company could be the subject of a takeover. The group had recently called off the sale of its vaccines arm. It was 19p better off to 994p.

The catalogue and online plus-size clothing specialist N Brown closed up 26.6p to 446.7p after reporting profits up 2.6 per cent to £96.4m in the year to 2 March. Its sales rose 6 per cent to £784.7m, with online revenue accounting for more than half.

Over on Aim, the biotech expert Summit Corporation reported on encouraging early results from a clinical trial of antibiotics for the hospital bug C.difficile. The stock was 0.3p healthier at 4.8p.

The video search engine business Blinkx, which features viral videos such as the Chinese reporter who recently ran out of her wedding to cover the Ya'an earthquake, said its sales and profits will be ahead of expectations. It produced a 15.5p rise to 93p. It said trading in the second half of the year continued to be strong and expects to be ahead of targets, with sales for the full year of about $196m (£128m), up from a range of $180m to $185m. Jonathan Imlah, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said: "The shares should go materially stronger on this positive update and regain much recent lost ground."

The oil and gas group Range Resources plans to merge with International Petroleum, but it slipped 1.1p to 3.34p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick