Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[1] Boosey & Hawkes on Song amid Bid Buzz

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[1] Boosey & Hawkes on Song amid Bid Buzz

Article excerpt


CITY investors were all singing from the same music sheet today as they chased shares of Boosey & Hawkes 13p, or 9%, higher to 153p.

My mates in the market tell me there is a buyer of a million shares doing the rounds along with a separate buyer of 500,000 shares. That accounts for almost 8% of the shares in issue and has led to speculation that a bid, or even a management buyout, might be on the cards for the music publisher and instruments maker.

Last year the shares were rocked by the discovery of a [pound]15 million hole in the accounts at Boosey's American subsidiary.

This led to the departure of several executives and a profits warning. In 1997, the shares were trading around 1000p but have steadily lost ground.

Brokers say the group has its attractions. It owns the rights to countless music titles, as Walt Disney found to its cost a few years ago when it used Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in the video version of its feature-length animated classic Fantasia without renegotiating.

Full-year results published earlier this week showed, as expected, that the group plunged into the red, with no final dividend for shareholders.

In the past Boosey & Hawkes has been tipped as a possible takeover target for EMI Group, up 7p at 427p, which earlier this week broke off talks with Germany's Bertelsmann. But with the share price having fallen so sharply in recent times, speculation is now focused on a possible management buyout.

The rest of the equity market recovered from a faltering start, helped by the bears who began closing their positions after the losses of the past few days ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend. But worse-than-expected US employment took some of the shine off the market's performance. The FTSE 100 index traded below its best with a rise of 52. …

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