Informa Plc (INF), the publisher of Lloyd’s List, rose to the highest in almost two years after Panmure Gordon & Co. named the stock its top 2013 pick among medium- and large-capitalization U.K. media companies.
The shares advanced 1.5 percent to 455.2 pence, the highest price since February 2011, gaining a fifth day and giving the Zug, Switzerland-based company a market value of 2.74 billion pounds ($4.46 billion).
“In 2013, we expect Informa to go the ‘extra mile’ and reward investors even more,” Alex DeGroote, an analyst at Panmure with a buy rating, said in a note to clients. “Improving revenues and bid speculation are all supportive.”
DeGroote raised his 12-month price target to 575 pence from 525 pence in anticipation of the company introducing a share buyback program and on prospects of faster revenue growth than investors expect.
Informa sold events businesses in Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany in the first half as a result of Europe’s debt crisis. It may sell some of its smaller businesses, Chief Executive Officer Peter Rigby said last month.
The company isn’t interested in buying Springer Science, which German publisher Axel Springer AG (SPR) is selling, as it is too expensive, Rigby said at the time.
The shares have risen 18 percent since Nov. 14 when Nomura said that the company was a potential takeover target. It is up 26 percent this year, ranking eighth of 13 stocks in the FTSE 350 Media Index. The FTSE All-Share Index has gained 9.3 percent this year.
Informa was also Panmure’s top media pick for 2012.
The publisher was cut to neutral from buy by Roddy Davidson at Westhouse Securities Ltd. on basis of its recent share gains. Davidson maintained his 470 pence 12-month price target. The stock has 18 buy ratings, seven hold ratings and one sell recommendation among 26 analysts tracked by Bloomberg.
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