Jack Petchey, the veteran investor, has launched a bid for Lookers, the car dealership and parts supplier.

Shares in the company rose 10 per cent on Wednesday after Lookers confirmed it had received a “highly speculative informal approach regarding a possible offer for the company” from an unnamed bidder. It did not reveal the price attached to the bid, but said that the board had rejected it.

Industry insiders said that the approach came from Mr Petchey’s vehicle, Trefick, which already owns a 17 per cent stake in the Manchester-based car dealer.

Mr Petchey is a serial stake builder in property and car companies, as well as an investor in real estate. His strategy has been to take stakes in companies that he regards as having been undervalued by the market.

He invested in and then exited from Reg Vardy, the car dealership group, in 2007 at a profit, although his investment in Pendragon, the UK’s largest car dealership, was less successful after he sold at a loss.

In March Lookers said that group sales in 2010 rose 7.7 per cent to £1.88bn ($3.05bn) while pre-tax profits almost tripled from £11.5m to £31.1m.

“The parts division is a stronger margin business than the retailing, which has a relatively low valuation, like a lot of other retailers at the moment. Whatever price tag was attached to the offer was clearly not that attractive which is why they have turned it away,” said John Stevenson, an analyst at Peel Hunt.

Lookers announced a move into the car rental sector in March after it acquired Get Motoring UK, a Buckinghamshire-based supplier. The company said that the purchase would help to broaden its sources of earnings and would add about £3m each year to its gross profits.

The shares rose 6p to 61p

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