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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
November 22, 2006

British Airways gains on bids news


by Elaine Frei

The London equities markets were lower on Wednesday ahead of the four-day Thanksgiving Day weekend in the United States. The FTSE 100 dropped 0.7 percent to 6,160.3, while the FTSE 250 fell 0.6 percent to 10,687.7.

Ladbrokes was 1.1 percent higher on the session to 397¼p as rumors circulated that private equity might be interested in making a bid for the bookmaker. Also up was British Airways, which added 2 percent to 491p on the news that Qantas Airways of Australia had received a $7.7 billion offer. Specialty chemicals company ICI was 9.3 percent higher to 423p as investors speculated that the sale of its Quest unit leaves it open to bids.

Plumbing and constructions materials company Wolseley fell 1.6 percent to £11.68 ahead of its annual meeting next week. Analysts are worried that the plumber might be forced into a restructuring because of the slowdown in the US housing market.

In the defence sector, BAE Systems dropped 0.4 percent to 414½p amid concerns that Saudi Arabia could cancel the contract for the Al Yamamah 3 fighter plane.

Among media companies, BSkyB was 0.7 percent lower to 531p, while ITV fell 2.2 percent to 109½p on reaction to its rejection of an offer from NTL. In addition, US fund manager Fidelity sold its 11 percent stake in ITV to BSkyB last week and then bought back 58.3 million ITV shares Monday for a much lower price per share; however it appeared that Fidelity had stopped buying shares.

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