Tom Cobleigh shares leap on takeover talks

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The Independent Online
Managed pub operator Tom Cobleigh looked to be heading for an early exit from the stock market last night after it said it was in talks that might lead to a takeover bid being made for the company, writes Tom Stevenson. Its shares jumped 24p to 236.5p, more than 50 per cent higher than the 150p at which they were placed only last November.

The company refused to add to the stark statement or to give an indication of when there might be further news but speculation focused on Yates Brothers as a potential suitor. Yates, which operates in the North-west, is known to want to move into the Midlands and South, where Cobleigh is strong.

Key to any takeover is the 50 per cent stake held by European Acquisition Capital, a venture capital group that backed Cobleigh before flotation and which has made it clear it would like to sell out. Recent market gossip had the stake being sold to Yates as the springboard for a full bid at about 270p a share.

The shares have been strong in anticipation of a swoop after the announcement in June that Hambros was looking for a buyer on behalf of EAC.

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