Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Talk of a Bid as Barclay Brothers Lift ICG Stake; MARKET ROUND-UP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Talk of a Bid as Barclay Brothers Lift ICG Stake; MARKET ROUND-UP

Article excerpt

ARE the Barclay brothers about to bid for InterContinental Hotels Group (ICG)? The idea moved from idle speculation to a serious possibility today after Sir David and Sir Frederick revealed they now have a 10% stake in the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels operator.

The Barclays investment vehicle, Ellerman Corp, first took a 5% stake in ICG in January and has since been steadily adding to it. Todays revelation pushed the shares up 22p to 1339p as investors bet that the brothers, who also own the Ritz, are poised to strike.

It was a topsy-turvy day for the Footsie 100 after yesterdays fierce slump. At one stage, it was almost 50 points ahead, and investors seemed to take comfort from the announcement that interest rates are held at 5.5% for the time being.

Later it fell back by six points to 6516.7.

GlaxoSmithKline, up 32p at 1304p, headed the Footsie leader-board as analysts bet the drugmaker will escape unscathed from a US hearing into alleged links between its diabetes treatment and heart attacksin users. Citigroup rates Glaxo a buy while warning that the shares will tread water at best through the next few months.

BAE Systems slumped 71/ 2p to 431p after a report that it had secretly paid [pounds sterling]1 billion into an account held by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the US. BAE denied the allegation but faces continued probes about how it secures weapons contracts.

The property sector was heavily under water after Vector Hospitality embarrassingly pulled its flotation yesterday. The number of high-profile investors who shunned the float unnerved the market, which fears a slide in property prices.

Housebuilder Persimmon tumbled 39p to 1248p, Grainger fell by 211/ 2p to 585p and Warner Estates lost 25p to 706p. Student accommodation outfit Unite joined the misery, down 251/ at 436p.2p Mike Ashley took a big step toward taking control of Newcastle United as the club confirmed chairman Freddy Shepherd is selling his 28% stake to the retail tycoon for [pounds sterling]37 million. Ashley now holds more than 70% of the stock, making his [pounds sterling]133 million takeover bid certain to succeed. …

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