Qatar eyes takeover of High Street giant M&S

Takeover speculation at Marks & Spencer (M&S) stepped up a gear this weekend with Qatar's sovereign wealth fund thought to be mulling a bid for the High Street giant worth eight billion pounds.

Takeover speculation at Marks & Spencer (M&S) stepped up a gear this weekend with Qatar's sovereign wealth fund thought to be mulling a bid for the High Street giant worth eight billion pounds.

According to The Sunday Times, the Qatar Investment Authority is said to be assembling a consortium of private-equity investors and has spoken to banks about financing a potential offer.

Rumours over the buyout lifted the retailer's stock last week, with the share price finishing nearly 3.0% higher at 372.5p, leaving its market capitalisation just shy of £6.0bn.

The offer, if made, is thought to be for a price of 500p a share, valuing the company at £8.1bn.

The Qatar Investment Authority has already made a number of large investments in British retail, being a 26% stake-holder in supermarket group Sainsbury and the owner of high-end department store Harrods.

Speculation surrounding a potential bid for M&S had increased over the last few months after a series of disappointing trading updates. In the third quarter in particular, M&S missed sales forecasts for the key Christmas period with like-for-like sales in the UK dropping by 1.8%.

Since the start of 2013, the stock has failed to join in with the wider stock-market rally dropping 3.2%, underperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 which has jumped over 10%.

It is thought that if shares in M&S rise more than 5.0% on Monday morning on speculation of a bid, the company or any possible bidder would be under pressure to release a statement under Takeover Panel rules, according to The Times.

Recommended

Anna Macdonald and Mikhail Zverev: Investing in innovative new frontiers
Investment strategy

Anna Macdonald and Mikhail Zverev: Investing in innovative new frontiers

Merryn talks to Anna Macdonald and Mikhail Zverev of Amati about investing in growth-focused innovation in the teeth of a tech-stock selloff, and the …
12 May 2022
BT is making progress and the dividend is back – but is it time to buy yet?
Share tips

BT is making progress and the dividend is back – but is it time to buy yet?

Investors in telecoms giant BT have seen dismal returns over the last 15 years. But there are signs that it is starting to turn things around, says Ru…
12 May 2022
Should you buy ITV shares as it takes on the digital streamers?
Share tips

Should you buy ITV shares as it takes on the digital streamers?

Broadcaster ITV is repositioning itself to take on the digital streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney. Rupert Hargreaves looks at whether that…
11 May 2022
Centrica’s optimistic outlook does not make up for its growing challenges
Share tips

Centrica’s optimistic outlook does not make up for its growing challenges

Centrica, Britain's biggest energy supplier and owner of British Gas, looks to be on track to report a bumper performance for 2022, says Rupert Hargre…
10 May 2022

Most Popular

High inflation will fade – here’s why
Inflation

High inflation will fade – here’s why

Many people expect high inflation to persist for a long time. But that might not be true, says Max King. Inflation may fall faster than expected – and…
13 May 2022
Cryptocurrencies are crashing – so how low will bitcoin go?
Bitcoin & crypto

Cryptocurrencies are crashing – so how low will bitcoin go?

The entire cryptocurrency sector is crashing, with bitcoin now well below $30,000. This is big, says Dominic Frisby. So just how low could bitcoin go?
12 May 2022
What the Ukraine crisis might mean for ESG investing
Advertisement Feature

What the Ukraine crisis might mean for ESG investing

The Ukraine crisis has brought many of the issues around ESG investing into sharper focus. Where does the sector go from here?
3 May 2022