Market Report: Technology takeover chatter moves to Pace

Reheated bid rumours prompted investors to switch on to Pace yesterday, with the set-top box maker surging 10 per cent, or 9.65p to 104.1p, to top the mid-tier index following vague mutterings a number of companies could be considering an approach.

The likelihood of Pace being snapped up has often been discussed in recent months, thanks in part to a profit warning in May that has helped its share price drop by over 40 per cent since the start of the year.

Yesterday market gossips, saying it could attract an approach worth between 150p and 175p a share, suggested there were as many as three potential aggressors, with talk of possible interest from its US peer Cisco and an unnamed South Korean company.

The mutterings came in the wake of Hewlett Packard agreeing a £7.1bn takeover of Autonomy (up 4p to 2,494p) last week, which has seemingly resulted in raised hopes of further bid activity among the technology companies.

Recent days have seen renewed speculation Misys, which was lifted 4p to 264p, could be in line for a break-up bid, while earlier in the week Arm Holdings became the subject of takeover rumours once again.

Yesterday the chip designer was bumped up 16p to 530p after Merchant Securities' Brendan Long highlighted chatter Apple could soon be introducing a cut-price iPhone 4, which the analyst said would "raise the outlook" for the Cambridge-based company as he kept his "buy" rating.

Encouraging data from the US on durable goods helped the FTSE 100 to continue its recent run as it powered up 76.43 points to 5,205.85. The benchmark index has now moved over 160 points higher this week alone, but traders were refusing to get too excited, with one noting the relatively low trading volumes and warning it felt like a short-covering rally.

The banks, which have been especially badly hit over the past few weeks, managed to bounce, with Royal Bank of Scotland rising 9.35 per cent, or 1.87p, to 21.87p. Lloyds Banking Group was higher as well, ticking up 1.81p to 30.11p, while Barclays advanced 4.15p to 149.6p.

Glencore International was another major riser, increasing 22.15p to 389.6p ahead of the release today of its interim results, as the commodities trader announced it was offering $281m to buy the shares in the Australian nickel miner Minara Resources it does not already own

Tesco was left among the stragglers, as the supermarket crept forwards just 0.1p to 377.3p. The group was knocked by Citigroup warning it and its peers needed to wake up to the threat from their discount rivals, saying recent data showed Aldi and Lidl saw like-for-like sales growth in July of 20 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Claiming the figures suggested shoppers were "trading away from supermarkets", the broker's analysts reiterated Tesco's "sell" rating, although they did keep their "hold" recommendation on Sainsbury, and it gained 2.6p to 305.5p.

A profit warning from Heineken, which blamed a drop in consumer confidence for it cutting its expectations for the year, meant Diageo was drowning its sorrows. The Guinness brewer was pegged back 4p to 1,118p, as it also revealed it had bought an additional 5 per cent stake in the Vietnamese spirits producer Halico. However, Heineken's gloomy outlook did not prevent SABMiller, whose brands include Grolsch, from pushing up 37p to 2,124p.

The biggest faller on the blue-chip index was Admiral, despite the car insurer revealing a rise in its first-half profits of 27 per cent. Investors were discouraged in part by an increase in the percentage of premiums paid out in claims, as the group dropped 11.86 per cent, or 182p, lower to 1,353p.

Down on the FTSE 250, Unite enjoyed a much better reaction to its interim results, climbing 10.5p to 163.4p after the student landlord said not only was it on course to match its full-year expectations but that its profits could end up coming in higher than previous anticipated.

Melrose slipped 1p to 294p after the buyout group, which released its interim results, said the "put up or shut up" deadline for it to submit a new bid for Charter International should be extended. The company has had two bids rejected, with the final one valued at 840p, and earlier in the week Charter, which closed 19p behind at 728p, announced it had received a new approach from a third party.

Pinewood Shepperton was pulling in the viewers, with the small-cap studios group putting on 17.12p to 223p after its first-half operating profits before exceptional items increased 127 per cent. The group, which cited strong demand from both large film and television productions, also said its revenue had jumped by more than a third.

Meanwhile, down on the Alternative Investment Market, an oil discovery west of Shetland helped Faroe Petroleum to rocket 21p to 159p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...