Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Business Post Delivers Boost on FedEx Bid Hope; MARKET REPORT

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Business Post Delivers Boost on FedEx Bid Hope; MARKET REPORT

Article excerpt

Byline: MICKEY CLARK

STRUGGLING Business Post moved up a gear today, leading the continued march of second-liners with a rise of 351/2p to 4001/2p amid chatter it may be the next target for a bid.

Speculators say the US parcel delivery service FedEx is favourite to bid and has been keeping a close eye on the group.

If that is true, it will be only too aware of how vulnerable Business Post has become since issuing a devastating profits warning in September hammered the shares.

Until then, they had been trading around 670p. The company's market value is now just [pounds sterling]200 million.

If it does bid, FedEx will have to get the agreement of the founding Kane family which at the last count held at least 58% of the shares.

The wider market continued to bounce from October lows as takeover fever took hold again.

A strong performance by the Dow overnight on Wall Street, where investors were cheered by strong third-quarter earnings from media giant Time Warner, added to the mix.

Back in London, the FTSE 100 index posted its fourth day of gains with a rise of 33.6 to 5392.2.

The broader spread FTSE 250 index continued to advance towards its record high 7979 with a jump of 60.5 to 7933.8.

Trading news from ICI, up 14p at 308p, Tate & Lyle, 253/4p better at 4963/4p, and Rentokil Initial, 53/4p dearer at 1553/4p, cheered sentiment.

Only food giant Unilever failed to cut the mustard, falling 291/2p to 551p.

Brewer Scottish & Newcastle fell 6p to 4701/4p following some bearish comments by Morgan Stanley. It has repeated its underweight stance on the shares and says international acquisitions have been problematic while thirdquarter profits are under pressure.

The US broker highlighted lacklustre markets in France and the UK and potential competition in Russia which it said makes a big jump in earnings growth unlikely.

S&N is regarded as the "the most expensive of the low-growth Western European brewers".

UK Coal tumbled 9p to 1331/2p after bid talks broke down. The group was in talks with a consortium of potential bidders including Alchemy Partners, Morston Assets and Buccleuch. …

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