Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Talk of a New ABN Amro Bid Lifts Barclays; MARKETROUND-UP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Talk of a New ABN Amro Bid Lifts Barclays; MARKETROUND-UP

Article excerpt


REPORTS that Wall Street giant Citigroup might throw its hat in the ring for Dutch banker ABN Amro appealed to worried Barclays investors. The UK bank firmed 4p to 743p as news emerged that a serious faction within Citigroup is pressuring its chairman and chief executive Charles Prince to bid for ABN Amro.

This could derail a potential takeover from Barclays, which earlier this week confirmed preliminary discussions were under way that could lead to the creation of an [pounds sterling]80 billion financial powerhouse.

Sources quoted today in the Wall Street Journal said Citigroup has been eyeing ABN Amro for a while. A takeover would strengthen its position in continental Europe and Latin America. An analyst at Petercam said a Dutch-American tie-up would create more synergies, and suggested ABN Amro would be able to pay more than Barclays.

Leading shares in London floundered after opening as a mixed performance from Wall Street and a dearth of corporate news saw investors struggling to find direction. The FTSE 100 opened off 16 points at 6302.0, dragged down by BA, which lost 71/2p to 5181/2p.

Bucking the general trend was Reuters. The media group has seen its shares creep higher since unveiling a profit fall at the beginning of the month.

Today, they added 33/4p to 4593/4p after Lehman Brothers changed its view on the media group to overweight from underweight and raised its target price 5p to 550p.

It says the current share price already reflects the company's inability to hit its published targets. On the positive side, revenue momentum is well-established and visibility on divisional margins has improved.Cairn Energy has been down in the dumps lately. Booted out of the FTSE 100 earlier this month after the flotation of its Indian subsidiary and its Russian adventures, it has slumped from a 2007 high of 1810p to a 15-months low.

Today the shares bounced back 11p to 1613p after Credit Suisse argued that the oil explorer is now massively undervalued, and predicted an 18% upside on the current market price.

Bigger rival Shellwas a winner today, rising 6p to 1648p on news it is considering whether or not to bid for a $10 billion sour gas development in Abu Dhabi. …

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