Speculation has surfaced that Sir Philip Green, who has sold a 25 per cent stake in his Topshop and Topman chain for 500m pounds to a US private equity outfit, is lining up a bid for Marks & Spencer, whose shares were up in midday trade.
Rik Thakrar, risk manager and senior dealer at Spread Co said: "It is no secret that Sir Philip has long coveted Marks & Spencer, and has wanted to bring his expertise to restore the blue-blooded retailer to former glories.
"Investors are clearly speculating that the Arcadia Chairman will use his newly acquired funds to launch a takeover of M&S. Despite shares being close to a one-month high, the Spread Co dealing desk has recorded a surge in long positions in M&S this morning."
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The buyer of Green's stake in Topshop and Topman was US private equity group Leonard Green and Partners. It is also likely that any future bid for M&S will involve some form of private equity backing, given the current £6.3bn market cap of M&S.
Green's last attempt to take over Marks & Spencer failed eight years ago. He offered £9.1bn in a hostile bid, which equated to 400p a share.
At 12.15 Marks & Spencer shares were up 3.3p at 397.6p.
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