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.

Advertisement - Article continues below

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.



Investment strategy

Broker safety – your questions answered

Cris Sholto Heaton answers more of your questions about the safety of stockbroker accounts
25 Mar 2020
Investment strategy

How demographics affects stock valuations

New research suggests that stock and bond valuations are driven by the age of the population – at least in the US.
24 Feb 2020
Stocks and shares

Do you own shares in Sirius Minerals? Here’s what you need to do now

Mining giant Anglo American has proposed a cash takeover of Yorkshire-based minnow Sirius Minerals. Unhappy shareholders must decide whether to accept…
20 Feb 2020

Why investors should be “cautiously bullish” for 2020

Analysts have been out in force making rosy predictions for stockmarkets in 2020, but while there is certainly a case for optimism, investors should r…
17 Jan 2020

Most Popular


The end of the bond bull market and the return of inflation

Central bank stimulus, surging post-lockdown demand and the end of the 40-year bond bull market. It all points to inflation, says John Stepek. Here’s …
30 Jun 2020

This chart pattern could be extraordinarily bullish for gold

The mother of all patterns is developing in the gold charts, says Dominic Frisby. And if everything plays out well, gold could hit a price that invest…
1 Jul 2020

House price crash: UK property prices are falling – so where next?

With UK property prices falling for the first time in eight years, are we about to see a house price crash? John Stepek looks at what’s behind the sli…
2 Jul 2020