Ocado shares near flotation price as talks over deal creates sell off-speculation and sales rise

OCADO shares yesterday rose to their highest level for almost two years, hitting a level close to their 2010 float price, as the online grocer announced it was in talks with Morrisons over the supermarket chain’s forthcoming online operation.

The company’s stock rose 20.25 per cent to finish at 165.22p, still lower than the 180p Ocado floated at, but the highest point since summer 2011. The company also announced that sales during the 12 weeks to 24 February had risen 14.4 per cent to £185.5m.
“[Discussions with Morrisons] may lead to an agreement to license certain of Ocado's existing and future intellectual property and operating knowledge,” the company said yesterday.

“As well as the possibility of a new income stream, we are encouraged by Morrison's endorsement of Ocado's technology, and the potential for this deal to be repeated,” Numis retail analyst Matthew Wade said.

Although the two parties stressed that Morrisons was not interested in investing in Ocado, the prospect of a sale was attributed to much of the rise.