Reports say firm is target for Japanese company

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Shares in Lendlease surged overnight after reports in the Australian media said the developer and contractor was a takeover target for a Japanese firm.

The Australian newspaper said the Google King’s Cross builder was being lined up for a takeover by Mitsui whose spread of businesses includes chemicals, logistics and finance.

Lendlease, which is listed on the Australian stock exchange, moved to dismiss the speculation saying it had “not received any such approach”.

But its shares closed 8.7% up with the stock trading at A$13.85, a rise of A$1.11.

The news comes as Lendlease is set to find out soon whether it will face a class action from investors over a share price plunge last November.

Australian law firm Maurice Blackburn, which is based in Melbourne, alleges Lendlease broke Australian law by failing to properly inform its shareholders about serious issues in its engineering and services arm and by “engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct”.

It has given shareholders until this Friday (17 May) to get in touch.

Last month the firm began the search for a new chief executive of its European business after current boss Dan Labbad said he was off to run the company that manages property on behalf of the Royal Family.

Labbad, who has been with the business for 22 years, is to start at the Crown Estate at the beginning of next year.

Lendlease has a number of high-profile jobs in the UK includes the Thamesmead regeneration scheme in south-east London for Peabody and a 43-storey tower in the City of London called One Bishopsgate Plaza.