Barclays shares up on takeover speculation

8 December 2006

Shares in Barclays have risen following mounting speculation that Bank of America could be about to launch a bid for the UK-based retail and investment bank.

Today has already seen Barclays share prices rise by 1.2 per cent in London, following the three per cent increase recorded yesterday.

If Bank of America were to acquire Barclays, it would be the largest financial services acquisition ever made, according to analysts at Merrill Lynch, creating the world's biggest bank.

In a note to its clients, the broker said that the deal would be particularly beneficial for Bank of America, which recently overtook Citigroup as the world largest financial institution by market value.

"We believe Bank of America is very interested in acquiring Barclays - Bank of America has previously indicated that the next stage of its expansion is to become a leading global commercial and investment bank," Merrill Lynch said, adding that acquiring Barclays would be likely to help them achieve this goal.

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