The story of Apax Partners’ abortive takeover bid for Woolworth’s just goes to show that in the City as well as in countryside hedgerows, a bird in the hand really is worth two in the bush. The VC’s £837m offer was withdrawn yesterday following concerns over mysterious-sounding ‘key cash items’. Perhaps they couldn’t find any Kola Kubes at the Pick’n’Mix counter. But in the meantime troubled Woolies’ moribund shares had rallied to the (relatively) dizzy heights of around 55p each. Any investors who decided that this was too good a chance to miss will have been smiling all the way to the bank – today the price is back down in the mid-30s again. For the background on Woolworth’s rise and fall, read this piece from the MT archive.