The soaring activity of shares in high street chain Next dipped today (29 March) as takeover bid rumours faded.

The fashion company's share price levelled off at GBP23.08 (US$45.24), having accelerated over the past few days. As reported by just-style yesterday, shares had jumped to an all-time high of GBP23.51 (US$46.14) on the London Stock Exchange, leading to rumours of a buyout in the city.

However, it now seems that such talk was unsubstantiated, and that trading was more likely triggered Next's optimistic annual report released last week. The retailer posted solid growth for 2006, with group turnover up 5.7%, to GBP3.3bn, buoyed by increases in its Next Directory business.

Analysts were sceptical of the likelihood that a takeover bid could be on the horizon, despite a management turnaround and store improvements. Any potential bidder would need to weigh up the lack of property owned by Next against its high cash flow value, just-style was told. 

Next, which trades from over 460 domestic stores and 100 overseas franchises, could not comment on the speculation when contacted by just-style.