Shares in Whitbread jumped about 6% to 1,925 pence on Wednesday as traders cited talk that U.S. property investor Starwood Capital Group was about to launch an offer for the U.K. company.
Whitbread declined to comment. The stock was the top gainer in the FTSE 100, which was down 0.3%.
By 10:10 am London time, more than 2.4 million Whitbread shares were traded, compared with average full-day volume of 2.52 million shares traded in the past 30 days.
The sector got a boost last week after private equity group Blackstone agreed to buy Hilton Hotels.