A flurry of deal-making activity excited the London market today as the FTSE 100 Index continued its recovery towards the three-year highs seen last month.
Confirmation of a takeover approach for £3 billion-valued Exel and the intention by Cadbury Schweppes to sell its European drinks arm provided the main interest.
And with the oil price continuing to buoy the oil majors, the Footsie was able to put on another 34.8 points to reach 5331.7 by mid-morning. The top flight has now added around 100 points since Tuesday.
Logistics company Exel was the biggest riser, up 15% or 148p to 1153p, as it revealed it had received an approach from DHL owner Deutsche Post.
Speculation of a deal has circled Exel for several months, although analysts have not ruled out interest from UPS.
The news involving Cadbury was well received as it revealed plans to jettison its Oasis and Orangina business, which is valued in the City at more than £1 billion.
Cadbury, which rose 13p to 560p, was also helped by positive results from fellow drinks firm Diageo.
The Guinness-to-Johnnie Walker owner was up more than 2% – 16p at 808p – after revealing signs of an end to the downturn in sales of its ready-to-drink products such as Smirnoff Ice. The company also posted a 2% hike in annual operating profits, which was marginally ahead of market expectations.
Oil stocks were again on the up, with Royal Dutch Shell ahead 14p at 1895p and BP 8p stronger at 640p.
On the downside, Whitbread topped the Footsie fallers board after sales figures showed a weakening trend. Shares fell 14.5p to 980p.
Outside the top flight, retailer Whittard of Chelsea slumped 13% – or 11p to 76.5p – after it said that potential takeover bidders had walked away from talks to buy the company. The stock fell 10% last week following a gloomy trading update.