Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Goldman Bid Talk Sparks Shares Rush at Man Group; TRADERTALK

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Goldman Bid Talk Sparks Shares Rush at Man Group; TRADERTALK

Article excerpt

Byline: MICKEY CLARK

CITY speculators had no further to look than their own doorsteps today for their daily fix of takeover speculation.

Shares in the UK's biggest hedge fund operator, Man Group, were among the best blue-chip performers, climbing 261/4p to a record 468p amid persistent chatter that it could soon become the target of a 650p-a-share offer from US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs. That would value Man, which has seen its price come up from 415p during the past couple of weeks, at [pounds sterling]12.35 billion. One trader commented: "Such terms would be exceedingly generous, even for the deep pockets of Goldman."

Man is midway through its own share buyback programme and has so far repurchased 22 million.

The speculative buying also spilled over into fund managers Amvescap, 271/2p dearer at 6241/2p, and Schroders, 321/2p up at 9961/2p.

Only yesterday, Amvescap published its monthly assets-undermanagement report, which showed the figure in September growing from $428.9 million to $440.6 million ([pounds sterling]237.4 million).

Gas services group Centrica was also back in the takeover spotlight, sending the share price nudging towards record levels. The price rose 11/2p to 3311/2p as more than nine million shares changed hands.

That compares with its peak of 335p. Once again it has been linked to Russia's Gazprom, the world's biggest supplier of gas, tipped before as a possible suitor.

Square Mile gossip claims Gazprom has hired Deutsche Bank to help construct an offer for Centrica which would find favour with institutional shareholders.

Gazprom's interest has been a factor in the performance of its share price since the start of the year, when the Russian company declared it wanted to control 20% of UK gas distribution. The City took the view that a takeover of the British Gas group would take it some way towards achieving that goal.

Shares generally consolidated their position above the 6000 level despite a pedestrian performance overnight on Wall Street. …

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