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Scottish & Newcastle deal under scrutiny for alleged insider trading

The FSA (Financial Services Authority) has today confirmed that the 2007 battle for control of Scottish & Newcastle is now the focal point of an ongoing insider dealing investigation. The £7.8 billion joint offer from Carlsberg and Heineken initially emerged at £7.20 a share although this was increased to £8.00 to finally secure the deal. However, it is the fact that the joint offer had to be brought forward by a number of weeks as news of the potential deal leaked into the marketplace which is causing concern at the FSA.

This is just the latest in a long line of takeovers and mergers which have fallen under the focus of the FSA's insider dealing wing. There are also a number of other takeovers and mergers which are being investigated for volatile share price movements ahead of price sensitive announcements. Even though the Scottish & Newcastle offer from Carlsberg and Heineken has been mentioned in dispatches for a number of years, it was the fact that such detailed information had apparently leaked into the marketplace ahead of an official approach.

It will be interesting to see whether any fund managers, investment companies or individual investors are the subject of court proceedings regarding alleged insider trading.

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