Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ailing Yell Is All the Rage as Bid Talk Grows Louder

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ailing Yell Is All the Rage as Bid Talk Grows Louder

Article excerpt

SPECULATORS were crying out for telephone directories business Yell after the market awoke to fresh rumours that a bidder is poised to swoop on the struggling group.

Yell rang up a 12p rise to 50912p as investors sifted through various versions of the story. Google is being touted in some quarters as a potential buyer, but many see it as a tasty morsel for private equity.

One analyst said such a purchaser would be able to at least double Yell's level of debt while its three distinct businesses open the way for lucrative restructuring.

After a torrid night on many Asian bourses and a three-figure fall by the Dow, the FTSE 100 index was down 19.2 points at 6504.9.

Broker Lehman Brothers has detected an opportunity to get in cheap at Standard Chartered, up 2p to 1545p. Its analysts reckon the shares have substantially underperformed those of its Asian peers, and now look good value.

It has bumped the bank up to overweight from equalweight and raised its target to 1700p from 1584p.

It says India and the Middle East provide between 30% and 35% of group profits and and are likely to be growth drivers.

Software group Autonomy was one of the big mid-cap fallers, sliding 25p to 745p on the back of a placing of 9.5 million shares to strengthen its balance sheet and finance general corporate growth.

Autonomy has already said it will demerge video-clips search engine Blinkx through an AIM listing.

But speculation is mounting that a big player such as Microsoft might snap it up before it has a chance.

The shares have risen almost a third since the start of the year.

Meat-packing specialist Hilton Food has set an offer price of 150p a share for its forthcoming flotation on the main market. This will value the business at [pounds sterling]104.5 million and sees its 22 founding partners celebrate a bumper payday.

Commercial director Colin Patten and UK and Ireland managing director Philip Heffer are each selling half their 12% holdings, netting them more than [pounds sterling]6 million apiece. …

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