Ocado shares jump on M&S tie-up hopes

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Shares in online grocer Ocado leapt 8 per cent on Tuesday morning, after reports the online grocer could benefit from Marks & Spencer’s plans to test a home delivery service.

Marks & Spencer has long resisted entering the online grocery market, but the retailer confirmed last week that it will be launching a “soft trial” of online services this Autumn.

The Telegraph reported on Sunday that M&S plans to start talks with Ocado “in the coming weeks” in relation to the plans.

The report stressed the plans were at a “very early stage”, but that didn’t stop shares in Ocado from jumping more than 8 per cent when markets reopened after the long weekend on Tuesday morning. At publication time, they were up 8.2 per cent to 271p, their highest level since January.

Ocado’s shares are particularly prone to big swings in price, as the stock is tightly-held by its largest shareholders, while disagreement over the long-term viability of the company’s business has prompted diverging bets from a number of hedge funds.

M&S and Ocado both said they do not comment on speculation.

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