Man Group spikes on BlackRock talk, AHL: traders

 @ibtimes
on February 17 2010 7:56 AM

Shares in hedge fund manager Man Group topped the list of FTSE 100 gainers on Wednesday, with traders citing talk of takeover interest from U.S. fund group BlackRock .

Both Man Group, the subject of a number of takeover rumors in recent years, and BlackRock declined to comment.

At 1021 GMT Man Group, whose shares are down by more than a quarter this year, was up 6.5 percent at 242.7 pence. The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was up 0.7 percent.

Citing rumors in the U.S. markets, the Daily Mail's market column said BlackRock was looking for another large deal after acquiring the funds business of Barclays last year.

The newspaper said the U.S. firm was missing the kind of hedge fund business that Man -- the world's largest listed hedge fund firm -- could provide.

There could be some truth in it, said Citi analyst Andrea Agosti. It's quite attractive in terms of valuation.

The firm is on a forward price/earnings ratio of 13.3 times, below the sector average of 18.1 times, and offers a prospective dividend yield of around 12 percent.

Traders also said the first positive weekly performance numbers in a month from AHL, its flagship group of funds, supported Man Group shares.

The unit, which had $20.4 billion in assets as at March 2009 and which makes money from trends in global futures markets, saw its Diversified Futures fund rise 0.15 percent last week, although it is still down 16.6 percent over the past year.

(editing by John Stonestreet; additional reporting by Joel Dimmock)

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