FINANCIAL TIMES: SPECIFICS LEAVE CENTRICA BID SPECULATION SHORT OF CREDIBILITY: “Norsk Hydro, with which Centrica had talks this year, Gazprom of Russia, Royal Dutch Shell, Gaz de France and even BG Group were all put forward as possible suitors.”: Saturday 27 August 2005
Published: August 27 2005
A good indication of the veracity of any bid rumour is the presence of specifics.
That characteristic was definitely missing from Wednesday's speculation surrounding a possible takeover of Centrica, the £9.2bn utility.
Shares in the gas distributor rose 3.8 per cent on Wednesday on the belief it was in merger talks. However, traders were throwing any number of names at the wall hoping one would stick. Norsk Hydro, with which Centrica had talks this year, Gazprom of Russia, Royal Dutch Shell, Gaz de France and even BG Group were all put forward as possible suitors. Centrica declined to comment but sceptics pointed to the fact that it would not be allowed to undertake any takeover talks if it was still in the middle of its share buy- back. Mind you, it last purchased its own stock on August 19. Meanwhile, in the banking sector, the scuttlebutt on Thursday suggested that US financial group Wells Fargo was about to pounce on Lloyds TSB, a perennial takeover favourite.
Lloyds shares initially rose by more than 4 per cent on heavy turnover but, as the day wore on, the excitement waned and shares in the UK's fifth-biggest bank closed barely changed.
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