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Recruiter Hays’ days of independence could finally be over

Recruitment company Hays has been thought to be a target for take-over for a number of years now

The recruitment company Hays has been thought to be a target for take-over for a number of years now. And as its shares went up 4.2p to 117.6p following above average turnover, the rumour mill has once again started as to whether its days of independence may be coming to an end.

There are whispers that the Swiss-owned global human resources company Adecco is readying itself to bid for Hays, at a rate of 150p per share. This would represent a total cash offer of around £2.1 billion.

Having walked away from a £1.3 billion deal with Michael Page back in September 2008, onlookers have been watching to see when Adecco might make a move on another UK recruiting firm. It is believed to have money to invest in the high margin permanent professional recruitment market as it looks to strengthen its position.

Although some believe that Adecco may be more attracted to smaller add-on acquisitions, the Hays potential may be too good an opportunity to pass by.

However, Adecco is not the only potential acquirer in the frame as it is believed that there are a number of private equity parties also considering a bid.

Elsewhere in the markets, as Vodafone’s share price rose, it has been suggested by analysts that now is the time to further talks with Liberty Global on finalising a merger.

Vodafone’s resilience combined with the impact of equity and credit market uncertainty on Liberty, means that at a fairer valuation price, both could benefit from a merger, as Vodafone continues to suffer from a risky AMAP profile. The deal would solve both Vodafone and Liberty’s convergence difficulties.

There appears to be a forecast of growth in the Chinese markets, allaying fears that China’s economic position could be worse than predicted. Improvements were also seen on the Footsie following a three year low. In Wall Street positive trading statements from Morgan Stanley and Bank of America resulted in a 28 point gain.

And in the UK, house builders have seen a boost as a result of Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s announcement that interest rates would remain at 0.5%. This saw Persimmon increase by 73p to 1957p and the Berkeley Group soared 142p to 3572p.

Other jumps were seen at Prudential, with a 43p increase, and Panther Securities, led by UKIP supporter Andrew Perloff, saw a rise of 10p to 377.5p.

And at furniture retailer ScS a 17 per cent increase was seen after the board revealed that it expected to see annual profits significantly higher that expectations following a good festive period.

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