Speculation linking Smith & Nephew to bid interest from US rival Johnson & Johnson has prompted a sharp surge in the blue-chip firm’s shares.
The medical devices firm, which makes knee and hip replacements, reportedly rejected a £7 billion approach several weeks ago, but according to Sky News the American suitor is still considering whether to return with a better offer.
Smith & Nephew shares jumped by 11%, or 74p to 724p, on the speculation, although the potential return of takeover activity failed to inspire the wider London market after a drop of 29.2 points to 5955.2 for the FTSE 100 Index.
Attention was also focused on the retail sector after the latest updates from supermarket Morrisons and department store chain Debenhams.
Morrisons impressed analysts after reporting like-for-like sales growth of 1% for the six weeks to January 2, slightly better than most forecasts. Shares responded with a rise of 2.5p to 272.5p.
And Debenhams held firm, unchanged at 74.2p, after it estimated the impact of the snow cost it up to 3% in like-for-like sales for the 19 weeks to January 8, leaving same-store sales for the period down by 1.3% excluding VAT.
Elsewhere, Persimmon shares were down 0.9p at 436.8p after the housebuilder said it expected profits to be at the top end of expectations.