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September 19, 2005 4:43 pm

Sept 19: The chase starts for Exel

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Charlie Pretzlik

-Exel didn’t hang around. Three weeks of chatting and an offer of £12.44 a share were all it took for the FTSE 100 logistics group to agree to be bought by Deutsche Post. The price is at the top end of expectations and is a higher level than the shares have seen for five and a half years, but this isn’t necessarily the end of the story. There is still a chance - albeit a slim one, our sources think - that UPS could make a rival offer before the £3.7bn deal closes in mid-December. The stock edged up 0.2 per cent to £12.30.

Read Lex now on why the deal is a good one and, in Tuesday’s paper, read our interview with the Exel and Deutsche Post CEOs, plus further analysis. Click here for the official announcement.

- It’s hard to know whether it’s aimed at customers or staff but today J Sainsbury launched its new slogan: “Try Something New Today”. Meanwhile, 153,000 “store colleagues” are off on Jamie Oliver tasting courses so they can pass on tips to customers. Justin King, the chief executive, says the new measures are the most significant in the barely profitable group’s 136-year history. The fact that the shares were unchanged at 283½p by this afternoon tells it rather differently. We’ll have more fun with these and other bizarre measures in Tuesday’s paper.

- LogicaCMG announced a deep-discounted 1-for-2 rights issue this morning to raise £390m for its £630m acquisition of Unilog in France. The Anglo-Dutch IT services group desperately needed either to double up or quit the French market, where it is losing money. Issuing shares at a 40 per cent discount to the price before the deal was announced has got to hurt. However, having fallen on Friday, the stock was back up 3 per cent to 173¼p this afternoon. Read Lex now.

- Interesting to see shares in Peacock, the discount retailer, up just 2.3 per cent today at 322¼p. This is despite confirmation this morning of our Saturday story that an indicative offer of 340½p had been received from Goldman Sachs and a group of hedge funds. London investors have never seen a straight takeover backed by hedge funds and, understandably, they have their doubts about whether it will come off. Click here for more analysis of the deal.

- The battle for the Jurys Doyle Hotel group intensified today. Three sisters from the Doyle family and some directors are considering an offer at least €18.90 a share for the Dublin-based company. They already control more than 40 per cent of the stock. The Reuben brothers are still considering a bid, despite recently losing their Irish partner. The stock rose 11 per cent to €18.50.

London shares at midday:

Unilever up 14½p at 591p on hopes its dual listing may be scrapped

Pilkington up 6¼p at 151½p on renewed rumours that Nippon Sheet Glass Company may bid for it.

Burren Energy up 41½p at 789p on strong first-half earnings

Carphone Warehouse down 2½p at 195¼p on talk that it could bid up to £350m for Centrica’s OneTel telecoms business

Teesland up 9½p at 89½p on confirmation of a bid approach

Respond to Charlie Pretzlik’s business blog, send an email to businessblog@ft.com

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