Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Merger Monday as Investors Brew Up Prices; MARKET ROUND-UP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Merger Monday as Investors Brew Up Prices; MARKET ROUND-UP

Article excerpt

IT was merger Monday in the City today as banking, brewing and retail megad eals

moved nearer completion and a host of other takeovers were mooted.

Brewer Scottish & Newcastlewas in the spotlight as speculators drove its shares up 17p to 5881/2p, making it the best bluechip performer. That followed reports S&N has been eyed up by rivals Diageo, 2p firmer at 1041p, and SABMiller, off 1p at 1158p.

It is thought SAB wanted to offer about 710p a share, valuing S&N at around [pounds sterling]9 billion. SAB would then have got together with Diageo and carved up the business, with Diageo buying the S&N beers. SAB would have kept S&N's other global assets, including a stake in Indian United Breweries and China's Chongqing. French brands such as Kronenbourg would have been sold to private equity.

The deal, however, was scuppered by the speculators, who chased S&N above 600p last month, pushing it out of reach.

Despite the takeover action, share prices generally ran out of steam after an early mark-up. The enthusiasm of market bulls has been tempered by fears the Bank of England's monetary policy

THE Noble venture capital trust (VCT) has disclosed a significant interest in software supplier VI Group. The VCT, which is run by Charles McMicking, director and head of private equity at Noble Fund Managers, owns 1,330,233 shares, representing a 3.57% stake in the [pounds sterling]6.5 million firm. The disclosure comes after a strong trading year for VI. The group's full-year pre-tax profits jumped 57% year-on-year on the back of an 8% rise in sales. The group attributed the impressive numbers to its acquisitions, which helped offset weakness in the dollar and yen. VI said that it remains on the hunt for acquisitions as it strives to expand into new sectors.

www.citywire.co.uk YOU CAN BUY AND SELL SHARES ONLINE FOR [pounds sterling]12.50 AT www.thisismoney.co.uk The Sharedealing Service is provided by The Share Centre in association with This is Money

committee will raise interest rates by a further halfpoint in coming months. …

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