PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Shares of AK Steel Holding Corp. jumped 7 percent Thursday following a news report that the steel maker has been holding preliminary talks over a possible sale.
The publication dealReporter, citing unnamed sources, said AK Steel was seeking an all-cash deal, and that the German steel maker ThyssenKrupp AG and the Russian steel company Evraz have been "taking a close look."
AK Steel's shares rose $4.15 to close at $63.50 .
The report, published on the Financial Times' Web site, also said Companhia Siderurgica Nacional of Brazil, or CSN, and Russian steel maker OAO Severstal were interested in the company.
A spokesman for AK Steel declined to comment.
Speculation over a possible AK Steel takeover has circulated over the past year.
Charles Bradford, an analyst with Bradford Research/Soleil Securities, dismissed news of the latest report as "an old rumor."
Longbow Research analyst Bob Richards disputed the report's portrayal of AK Steel as seeking an all-cash deal in need of help.
"If something is going down, it certainly isn't because they can't stand on their own two feet," he said in an interview. "I find it unlikely."
On Monday, Moody's Investors Service said it placed AK Steel's ratings under review for a possible upgrade, based on its improved operating and financial profile driven by strong steel fundamentals and its reduction in debt and pension liabilities.
Last week, the West Chester, Ohio-based company reported a 32 percent gain in second-quarter profit, after its prices jumped 13 percent amid strong demand.
AK Steel said it planned to raise prices by a further 10 percent in the third quarter, though it predicted lower shipments and higher raw material and energy costs.