Shares in Punch Taverns rose 21.5p to 820p after ABN Amro named the group as likely to buy the majority of Spirit Group’s estate. The broker said: "We expect Punch to acquire 50% to 70% of Spirit's pubs. Such a deal would in our view make both strategic and financial sense for Punch and we attach a high probability to it occurring." ABN Amro suggested that Merrill Lynch had been appointed by Spirit to look into a sale.