Shares in Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries have in recent days jumped to a new record high on the back of continued takeover speculation. The company, which this morning announced plans to change its name to Marston's and unveiled pre-tax profits of £101m, has seen its stock rise to 1621p. The shares have risen from 1200p since July. The share capital of the company is now valued at just over £1.2bn, against £910m a year ago. Market rumours suggest a private equity bidder is preparing an offer of up to 2000p, which would value the shares at £1.54bn. Analysts suggest the business is particularly attractive given its predominantly freehold pub estate and its relatively modest debt levels. Recent deals have seen W&DB acquire a clutch of companies, including Burtonwood, Celtic Inns and Jennings, driving its estate to 2,351 pubs.