Marks & Spencer shares were trading lower today after two days of speculation over bid interest involving a South African businessman came to an end.
Earlier reports linking little known Mark Paulsmeier to the financing of a possible management buy-out had intrigued analysts in the London market.
Today, Mr Paulsmeier issued a statement to confirm Paulsmeier Group was not leading or contemplating an offer for M&S. He added the group had been involved in moves to facilitate a buy-out but added that it had “decided to dissociate itself from any transaction”. No further details were provided.
M&S, which also heard earlier this week that retail tycoon Philip Green was not planning to revive his recent bid interest, declined to comment.
On Tuesday, it was reported that a leaked fax had said Mr Paulsmeier’s venture capital backer was prepared to back a £10.5bn (€15.2bn) bid once the proposals received the backing of 75% of M&S staff. He was also said to have the support of an M&S insider known only as Andrew.
Hilary Cook of Barclays Stockbrokers said: “It always seemed unlikely but then M&S is permanently surrounded by bid speculation.”
The developments contributed to heavy trading in M&S shares on Tuesday, although the stock was 5.25p lower at 361.75p today.