By Jonathan Davies

Shares in employee benefits and financial planning firm Jelf have surged 19% after confirming it was the subject of a possible takeover bid.

The announcement pushed Jelf's shares up to its highest point since 2008.

The group announced that insurer Marsh was in talks over a possible all-cash acquisition, but stressed that negotiations were at an "early stage".

There are several parties that hold smaller stakes in Jelf, but it is not yet clear whether or not a deal would include their shares.

Earlier in the year, Jelf reported a 11% rise in revenues for the six months to April and a 24% increase in earnings.