3.4bn Sema takeover talks boost sector


Computer services group Sema provided the spark for the market yesterday (Monday), jumping 13 per cent on confirmation it was in 3.

4 billion takeover talks.

The group, which is in discussions to be bought by Franco-American firm Schlumberger in a 560p-a-share deal, surged 60p to 535p on the news.

And rival firms were also buoyed, with Logica rising 60p to 16.20 and CMG up 8p at 885p, while software group Sage jumped 14p to 340p.

The good start was reflected in a positive start on the market, which saw the FTSE 100-Index move ahead 31.7 points to 6196 after an hour's trading.

The rise came despite a poor performance on Wall Street's Dow Jones, and on the technology-dominated Nasdaq on Friday.

In London, other shares managing to shake off the US gloom included Bank of Scotland, rising 3 per cent following speculation Barclays had its eye on buying the group.

Bank of Scotland, which is planning to merge with Abbey National, rose up 23p at 740p, while Barclays was off 14p at 22.29.

But it was not all bright, and mining group Billiton fell to profit taking, off 6p at 305p, despite posting six months figures ahead of forecast.

Food and logistics group Uniq also fell, after giving an update of trading.

The company, which is currently undergoing a restructuring programme, slipped 42p to 208p.