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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 22:48 GMT 23:48 UK
Alliance & Leicester 'spurns bid'

High street bank Alliance & Leicester has spurned an informal bid from France's biggest bank, Credit Agricole, according to press reports.

The Independent newspaper says A&L rejected a Credit Agricole offer made within the last fortnight, that valued the UK bank at almost 5.8bn.

The paper said the 13 a share offer was considered too cheap, but A&L's bosses would be tempted at 15 a share.

Takeover rumours saw A&L's shares rise 11p to 11.90 by Wednesday's close.

Rival suitor

It is thought that A&L did not have to make a Stock Exchange announcement because the approach was informal.

The article said that there was a rival suitor in the shape of Santander, the Spanish owner of A&L's UK banking rival, Abbey.

It is reported to have talked to A&L about a takeover deal worth over 14 a share.

Alliance & Leicester has 5.5 million customers and employs 8,500 people in the UK.

It made a pre-tax profit of 547m in 2005, down 7% on the previous year when its figures were boosted by the 52m profit from the sale of its payment processing business.

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