Standard Life shares jump on takeover rumour

30th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Oct 30, 2006 (AFP) - The share price of Standard Life surged Monday following a weekend press report that French insurance group giant Axa was considering a takeover of its smaller British peer.

LONDON, Oct 30, 2006 (AFP) - The share price of Standard Life surged Monday following a weekend press report that French insurance group giant Axa was considering a takeover of its smaller British peer.

The Sunday Express newspaper had said that Axa was considering a takeover approach valuing the recently-floated British insurance group at about 7.0 billion pounds (10.5 billion euros, 13.3 billion dollars).

In Monday during afternoon trading, Standard Life shares were 2.21 percent higher at 289.25 pence, after reaching as high as 292 pence, making it the top performer on London's elite FTSE 100. The leading share index fell 0.56 percent to 6,126.60 points.

However, Axa shares tumbled 1.13 percent to 29.64 euros in Paris trade, while the French CAC 40 index dipped 0.73 percent to 5,356.47 points.

In an unsourced report, The Sunday Express had reported that Nicolas Moreau, the new chief of Axa's British arm, was keen to add Standard Life's British life insurance assets to its business.

Brokers were sceptical, however, with Merrill Lynch saying it believed the story was "very unlikely," while Cheuvreux described the report as having "below average credibility".

Standard Life floated in London last July at a price of 230 pence, which had given the group a stock market capitalization of some 4.802 billion pounds (6.904 billion euros, 8.887 billion dollars).

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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