Market Report: Talk returns of Sage bid by Microsoft

Microsoft's founder Bill Gates may be nursing a £20m loss on his bet on sportswear chain JJB Sports, but the US computer giant is back in the spotlight in the City as chatter re-emerges around software group Sage.

Bid talk surrounding Sage has come and gone for years. Earlier this year gossip surfaced in both March and May. Traders are throwing up the usual suspects, including Microsoft and Germany's SAP, as well as talk of private equity interest.

But while some City insiders have played down the hearsay claiming M&A interest is old hat – Microsoft was first linked to Sage back in 2003 – others suggested the deal would make strategic sense.

Sage announced in May that it had teamed up with Microsoft to put its accounting software for small businesses into the cloud via Microsoft's Azure system. Analysts at Merchant Securities said at the time that the deal could reawaken bid rumours.

Some investors were convinced and Sage booked a 7.3p gain to 303.5p.

As the last few traders arrived back at their desks from August holidays, bid rumours resurfaced.

Interest in FTSE 250 Senior Engineering pushed it up 6.4p to 203.8p, a rumour first touted last month. Speculation about bidders eyeing soft drinks group Britvic also bubbled to the surface again and shares fizzed up 2.7p to 322.3p.

Normal service was beginning to resume for the FTSE 100 and after four days of losses it edged up 46.93 points to 5758.4. But volumes globally were lower as US markets are closed for Labor Day.

Miners led the charge on the FTSE 100 with Fresnillo, up 66p to 1627p, Kazakhmys, 17p to 610p, and Vedanta Resources, 24.5p to 892p, topping the board. However, insurance group Admiral was sent tumbling to the bottom of the index, down 36p to 1,150p, as analysts at Credit Suisse cut their rating of the stock to neutral and fellow scribes at Canaccord Genuity reduced it to sell after last week's half year results.

HSBC Global Research turned its attention to the world of expensive handbags and designer clothes and issued a sequel to its luxury report.

Scribes cut British brand Burberry's share price target to 1,500p from 1,550p, while Nomura's analysts issued a buy rating and a price target of 1,450p for the stock. Burberry shares strutted up 2p to 1355p.

On the mid-caps, housebuilders were boosted by positive comments on planning by Chancellor George Osborne, and Barratt Developments moved up 8.6p to 158.6p and Persimmon jumped 36p to 734p.

Over on Aim, organic waste specialist TEG Environmental announced a waste contract in Dagenham and its shares ticked up 2.3p to 6.5p

A strange new name for the owner of the Yellow Pages has not allowed it to turn the page on crippling debts and its creditors are hiring advisors to restructure its £2.2bn liabilities.

Shares in the company, now named Hibu, crumpled 59 per cent, falling 0.7p to 0.49p, on the news that its long list of creditors – including Royal Bank of Scotland, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank – are bringing in US restructuring firm Houlihan Lokey and law firm Linklaters to advise on a debt-for-equity swap. The restructuring talks are the second in a year and are likely to see the creditors seize control.

The group, whose shares traded at around 600p five years ago, has been attempting to turn itself around, but the growth of online search engines like Google has sealed its fate.

Reports about miner Talvivaara were apparently exaggerated. The Finnish company's statement today had a slight touch of the Mark Twain about it.

Talvivaara insisted that "recent publicly reported claims" on its cash position and planned job cuts are "incorrect". The mid-cap miner's shares were driven up 14.6p to 140p following the clarification.

Last month Talvivaara reported a big rise in second-quarter losses, having been hit by production problems and depressed nickel prices. However, the company claims it can achieve "substantial cost savings without any personnel impact" and said its liquidity position is stable.

It said it expects cash reserves to "remain sufficient" regardless of the low nickel price.

FTSE 100 Risers

Rolls-Royce 835.5p (up 14.5p, 1.8 per cent) Planning green light for engine make's second, hi-tech factory in Rotherham to produce single-crystal turbine blades.

Rio Tinto 2795.5p (up 60p, 2.2 per cent) The miner joined peers in a rally yesterday amid speculation China will move to boost its slowing economy. The UK mining sector has fallen 20 per cent since early August on fears of an Asian slowdown.

FTSE 100 Fallers

Morrisons 278.2p (down 1.8p, 0.6 per cent) The UK's fourth-largest supermarket continued its fall from Friday ahead of its results this week. Analysts at Nomura yesterday joined Barclays in cutting their rating for the shares from buy to neutral.

Arm Holdings 559.5p (down 14.5p, 2.5 per cent) The chip maker fell back as analysts at Deutsche Bank cut their rating on the stock from hold to sell.

FTSE 250 Risers

Home Retail Group 97p (up 3.2p, 3.4 per cent) The Argos to Homebase owner edged up as analysts at Investec raised their rating of the shares from sell to buy.

Ophir Energy 586p (up 21.5p, 3.8 per cent) Oil and gas explorer Ophir Energy spurted up following an update from offshore Tanzania. It is also searching for a strategic partner for a well-drilling programme in Tanzania and Kenya.

FTSE 250 Fallers

Bumi 303.2p (down 14.8p, 4.7 per cent) The debt-laden Indonesian coal miner fell again amid weak coal prices and rumours it will sell a 50 per cent stake in Fajar Bumi. The company, established by the financier Nat Rothschild and Indonesian investor Samin Tan, has already been hit by boardroom disagreements.

CSR 310p (down 15.6p, 4.8 per cent) Deutsche Bank scribes downgraded shares to sell, from hold.

Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on TV
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
VIDEO
Life & Style
The exterior of a central London Angus Steakhouse
food + drink
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environment
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit