TAKING STOCK

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The Independent Online
Paramount, with 200 pubs, looks vulnerable following Enterprise Inns' pounds 51.3m acquisition of the John Labatt's pubs portfolio. The deal includes a 50 per cent interest in Real Inns with 98 properties. The other half is owned by Paramount which manages the chain. It has lost one management contract (for 39 pubs) recently and can ill-afford another departure.

There is talk that if the split ownership is not resolved Enterprise could bid for Paramount, unchanged at 5.5p. Enteprise gained 19p to 229p, a 46p gain this week; the Labatt deal has prompted the market to warm towards the pubcos.

Insurance broker Ockham jumped 28p to a 98p high; its profit from the Lloyd's of London changes could reach pounds 18m. The shares were 55p earlier this month.

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