Whispers on the floors of the stock exchange about a possible takeover bid for the world's second biggest spirits and wine group Allied Domecq, has seen its share price jump in the last couple of days.

Shares were up 20p by close yesterday and at 2.22pm GMT today had risen another 2.27% or 8p to 359p.

Initially analysts attributed the gains to a post results investor roadshow, but there have been reports that US venture capitalists are considering a takeover bid. Texas Pacific Group, which recently acquired Burger King from Diageo, and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, which sold Allied its Mumm and Perrier-Jouet Champagne brands in December 2000, have both been mentioned. The UK entrepreneur Hugh Osmond's name was also doing the rounds.