M&A rumour fires up the Iress (ASX:IRE) share price today

There’s nothing like an unsubstantiated rumour to fire up the share price and investors’ imagination.

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The Iress Ltd (ASX: IRE) share price surged to a more than one-year high this morning even as it shrugged its shoulders.

The share trading system developer couldn’t shed light on a media report that a big buyer was on the hunt for its shares.

The news is fuelling speculation that Iress could be a takeover candidate at a time when bidders are hunting for targets.

Takeover rumours triggering Iress share price rally

Little wonder that the Iress share price rallied 9% to $11.94 at the time of writing. This makes the shares the best performer on the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index:^AXJO) with the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield CDI (ASX: URW) share price a distant second with its 4.3% gain.

In case you are wondering, the EML Payments Ltd (ASX: EML) share price is a close second runner up with a 4.1% increase.

No news is good news

Coming back to Iress, it said it has not received a direct approach and could not comment further. In this hot M&A market, no denial is as good as an admission.

After all, cashed up investors won’t let a little thing like truth stand in the way of a good trading opportunity!

The report that newly minted investment bank Barrenjoey is looking for Iress shares on behalf of a financial sponsor client was first carried by the Australian Financial Review.

Stalking the Iress share price

The AFR quoted unnamed sources as saying that Barrenjoey was quietly talking with fund managers on Wednesday night.

It’s believed that the investment bank was looking to snap up as much as 10% of Iress shares.

But as no large parcels of shares were traded this morning, the thinking is that the talk is still preliminary. Iress’ biggest shareholders include fund managers Greencape Capital and First Sentier.

Assuming the rumours are true, one has to wonder if the surge in the Iress share price will put off the potential buyer.

Hot M&A market for ASX shares

On the other hand, bidders are eager in this market. The Boral Limited (ASX: BLD) share price, Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) share price, Tabcorp Holdings Limited (ASX: TAH) share price and Vocus Group Ltd (ASX: VOC) are only but a few examples of ASX shares that are seen to be “in-play”.

Cheap money from record low interest rates and the scramble to buy growth are some of the key drivers for M&A.

In other words, any potential suitor in Iress may not be easily dissuaded. Watch this space fellow Fools!

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Brendon Lau does not own shares mentioned in this article. Follow me on Twitter @brenlau.

The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended EML Payments. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended EML Payments. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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