Britain’s M&S shares rise on report investment firm Apollo examined bid

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London, Nov. 22 (Reuters) – Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) shares rose 3.8% in early trading after a report in the Sunday Times said US investment firm Apollo Global Management (APO.N) was “operating power” on the clothing retailer And British food.

The paper quoted “urban sources” as saying that Apollo sees M&S as a bargain, as the group’s shares are unreasonably affected by the COVID-19 epidemic and the market does not attribute enough value to 50% of M&S in Ocado’s (OCDO.L) retail business .

The Sunday Times said it was unclear whether Apollo’s interest had subsided by the recent jump in M&S shares – a 33% increase over the past month.

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M&S and Apollo declined to comment on the report.

The stock rose 3% to 248.3 pence at 0859 GMT, increasing year-on-year gains to 87%.

A woman walks past a Marks & Spencer store on Oxford Street, following the outbreak of Corona disease (COVID-19), in London, UK, July 20, 2020. REUTERS / Henry Nichols / Photo Photo

Earlier this month M&S beat its first-half earnings forecast and upgraded its earnings forecast for the second time this year, sending its stock soaring in a gamble that one of Britain’s most elusive corporate twists could finally materialize. read more

Last year, Apollo missed out on the acquisition of Assada, the UK’s No. 3 grocery store, taken over by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital. This year she considered joining the fight over Morrison, the No. 4 supermarket chain.

Morrison eventually was taken over by Clayton’s private equity group, Dubilia & Rice (CD&R).

Reports this year also linked Apollo with Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), the second largest supermarket group in the UK after Tesco (TSCO.L). read more

Analysts have downplayed the prospect of a bid for M&S, noting that no bids appeared when its shares weakened 121 pence in December 2020 and the impractical nature of the group’s food and apparel split.

The rise in M ​​& S’s share price may bring it back to the UK’s Bluechip FTSE 100, a status it lost in 2019.

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Report by James Davy; Edited by William Schumberg and Edmund Blair

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