SHARES in Scotland’s largest distiller edged ahead yesterday following weekend press reports that it had been in talks with Morrison Bowmore-owner Suntory to buy New York-listed spirits giant Beam.
City sources said Diageo – which makes Bell’s, J&B and Johnnie Walker – held talks earlier this year with the Japanese drinks maker, with a view to launching a joint bid for Beam, which owns Ardmore, Laphroaig and Teacher’s, as well as its eponymous bourbon brand.
Analysts at UBS raised their target price on Diageo to 2,050p from 1,850p, but Shore Capital said a deal was unlikely to come soon as Diageo is already in talks to buy a stake in India’s United Spirits and is eyeing a takeover of tequila maker Jose Cuervo. Diageo closed up 8p at 1,886.5p.
The wider FTSE 100 index clawed its way back out of the red to close up 7.23 points at 5,921.63 as early gains on Wall Street gave the Footsie a lift.
The blue-chip index fell during the morning session as traders digested the news that Italian prime minister Mario Monti would resign. Traders were cheered in the afternoon session after US President Barack Obama set aside the entire week to negotiate with Republicans to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff”.
Shares in television set-top box maker Pace were suspended after it made a tentative takeover approach for Google’s Motorola Home business.
Blur Group, which was set up by former Letts diary publishing heir Philip Lett, edged up 1p to 75.5p after Ebay signed up to tender contracts on the company’s online procurement site.
Aberdeen-based oil explorer Faroe Petroleum dipped 1.75p to 126p after partner Wintershall began drilling the Rodriguez exploration well in Norwegian waters.
NEW YORK: Wall Street edged higher last night as technology shares bounced back after recent weakness and McDonald’s posted strong monthly sales.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 14.75 points, or 0.11 per cent, to end the day at 13,169.88 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up just 0.48 of a point, or 0.03 per cent, to finish at 1,418.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 8.92 points, or 0.30 per cent, to close at 2,986.96.