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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
A&L shares fuelled by bid rumours
Alliance & Leicester branch front

Shares in High Street bank Alliance & Leicester have risen 3.3% after a press report said it had rejected a bid from France's biggest bank, Credit Agricole.

The Independent newspaper said the bank had rejected an informal offer made in the last fortnight, that valued it at almost 5.8bn ($10bn).

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

The rumours saw the bank's shares rise 40 pence to 1230p on Thursday.

Rival suitor

It is thought that Alliance & Leicester did not have to make an announcement to the London Stock Exchange because the approach was informal.

The Independent reported that there was also a rival suitor in the shape of Santander, the Spanish owner of UK banking rival Abbey.

It is reported to have talked to A&L about a takeover deal worth more than 1400p a share, or 6.2bn.

Alliance & Leicester is regarded as one of the banking sector's most likely bid targets.

The bank has 5.5 million customers and employs 8,500 people in the UK.

It reported a pre-tax profit of 547m for 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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