India link high on M&A rumours on UK bourses

India link high on M&A rumours on UK bourses


London: Bourses in UK are abuzz with takeover rumours involving companies with a significant India presence, all of which have seen a sharp surge in their share prices, pushing their collective market value by close to 16 billion pounds over the past week.

These companies include mobile giant Vodafone, energy firms Cairn Energy and BP and insurers Aviva and Prudential.

While Vodafone has a majority stake in Indian mobile operator Vodafone-Essar, Cairn Energy sold shares of its Indian unit Cairn India at bourses there last year.

Insurance companies Aviva and Prudential also have significant presence in Indian market through their joint ventures with Dabur and ICICI Bank respectively.

All these companies have been named in various merger and acquisition rumours in British media reports, with Cairn, Vodafone, Aviva and Prudential as potential targets being eyed by the likes of BP and Italy’s Generali.

Rumours are also doing the rounds that NRI business tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has set his eyes upon Cairn through ONGC-Mittal, a joint venture with India’s state-run energy giant.

Most speculations have been denied, while market watchers are seeing little merit in the talks of a possible takeover of firms like Vodafone.

Nonetheless, the share prices of the companies named in the rumours have risen up to 10%, with market value of the six companies - Vodafone, ArcelorMittal, Aviva, Cairn Energy, Prudential and BP - going up by 15.75 billion pounds in the last week to 320 billion pounds.

Vodafone shares rose by 9%, Cairn’s by 8.5%, Prudential and Aviva’s by 4-6% while those of BP and US-listed ArcelorMittal surged about 3% each.