Unipalm price plunge sparks market anger

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The Independent Online

Stock market dealers expressed anger yesterday as Unipalm, a company that provides access to the Internet, said it may be taken over at around 450p a share.

This is well short of the 600p the shares were trading at earlier on suggestions of an offer of between 700p and 800p.

Most of the market's frustration was directed at SBC Warburg, who were market-making in the stock for the first time yesterday after being appointed financial advisers to the company in June. The investment house made a market in the shares from early morning at 525p a share, much lower than all other market-makers.

There was also speculation that one stockbroking firm was ringing around clients on Thursday evening telling them to sell. The London Stock Exchange is expected to launch an inquiry into the affair.

But an SBC Warburg spokesman denied the bank had acted improperly, saying: "We never discuss our trading activities but we are completely comfortable with the situation."

Unipalm announced on 18 August that it was in talks that may lead to an offer but until yesterday had not given any indication on price.