Market Report: Sainsbury's is back in the bid spotlight

Buyers are supposed to return to the market after the St Leger Day race at the weekend. But it looks like old bid rumours are also reappearing just in time.

Like groundhog day, rumours that the supermarket Sainsbury's could be the subject of a bid re-emerged yesterday. The shares reached a 52-week high of 338.5p during trading and closed up 5.4p to 337.5p as traders speculated that Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which owns a 25.66 per cent stake, is reheating takeover plans. The shares have risen 11.52 per cent in the past year.

Qatar's interest surfaced in 2007 when the QIA-backed Delta Two fund launched a £10.6bn, 600p-a-share bid. The deal was chased away by the Sainsbury's family. The Qataris retained their stake and rumours returned in 2010 only to disappear again. This time, a 450p to 500p a share bid is doing the rounds.

Qatar has been on a buying spree, snapping up everything from Harrods department store to a £900m stake in BAA, via its subsidiary, Qatar Holding. But yesterday, some traders doubted its appetite for the third-largest supermarket, citing its involvement in the Glencore and Xstrata merger as enough to keep it busy for now.

Gossip mongers with a taste for bid speculation were watching National Grid. A share price rise of 7p to 685.5p was accompanied by talk it could be in the sights of US and European utility players.

The chit-chat on buyers circling software group Sage continued. A private-equity bid from KKR and Blackstone was rumoured, alongside interest from Germany's SAP. Sage continued its rise, up 1.8p to 317.1p.

Investors began to doubt the likelihood of BAE Systems and EADS merger plans to create the world's biggest aerospace and defence company. Fears that the deal could run into political or legal problems saw BAE shares slump 26.5p to 337.1p

Takeover speculation wasn't confined to the FTSE 100. After an incredible summer of sport, from the Olympics to Andy Murray's US Open win, eyes were back on sports bookie Sportingbet. City chatter resurfaced that a bidder could emerge as the online betting sector goes from strength to strength.

Mike Savage, partner at broker Killik & Co, rated it a buy and said it was an "increasingly attractive bid target". He said: "We suspect that the current share price advance is… attributable to a growing realisation of the true value of the fast-growing Australian business, which we reckon now exceeds Sportingbet's entire market cap."

Potential bidders put forward in the past month have included larger rivals Ladbrokes and Bwin.Party, and there have been rumours of overseas interest from Malaysian casino giant Genting and Indonesia's Sampoerna family.

Its shares have had a remarkable summer, shooting up from 26.25p in May and edged up again yesterday 0.25p to 43p.

One word of caution though: Sportingbet has been the subject of failed bids in the past.

The FTSE 100 jumped 37.84 points to 5,819.92 as the City predicted new US stimulus measures – QE3 – will be confirmed by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke after surprisingly bad August jobs figures across the pond.

The new entrants and leavers in the FTSE 100 have been confirmed with the changes taking effect from the start of trading on 24 September.

Engineer Melrose, down 0.8p to 255.5p, and energy services outfit John Wood Group, down 7p to 847p, will join the index, while broker Icap, down 0.4p to 338p, and fund manager Ashmore Group, down 6.8p to 321.3p, are demoted to the FTSE 250.

If recent merger activity comes to fruition and miner Xstrata leaves the FTSE 100, the reserve list cites London Stock Exchange Group, up 8p to 1,052p, as next in line to join the index.

The "put up or shut up" deadline for Carlyle's bid for defence contractor Chemring is today at 5pm and the City appears to doubt it appearing. Chemring's shares lost 2.4p to 327.5p.

Meanwhile, Essar Energy spurted up on news that it had got the go-ahead to pay a tax bill in India in instalments rather than one lump sum. The case, which has been rumbling on since 2008, ended up in India's supreme court. Essar's shares gushed up 6.6p to 114.7p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot