Shares in InterContinental Hotels (IHG) rose to a record high today after it emerged that the Barclay Brothers have more than doubled their stake in the business.
The revelation that the Barclays' main investment vehicle Ellerman now owns a 5% shareholding in the hotel group has once again sparked speculation of a £5b bidding war.
IHG's shares jumped 3.6% to a £13.47 despite a spokesman insisting there were no "ongoing discussions" with Ellerman or any other party.
"We have met with Ellerman, as we do with any shareholder, but we are not in ongoing discussions with them," he told The Times.
"Speculation of a bid has been going on for some time," the spokesman added. "The company has been doing very well, the brands have been performing very well and that is always likely to attract attention, but our focus is meeting our own targets."
Shares in IHG, which owns brands including Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, have risen 50% since August in the wake of constant rumours over an offer from either an industry peer or private equity fund.
By Daniel Thomas