US activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors is threatening to derail Steinhoff’s £597m bid for Poundland unless the offer is improved.
Elliott increased its stake in Poundland to around 17.5 per cent just days after Poundland’s board agreed to the 222p a share cash takeover offer.
The offer represented a premium of 39 per cent from 13 June, before the South African owner of Bensons for Beds and Harveys revealed its interest.
The discount retailer’s share price had fallen from 418p in February 2015 to below 200p before the deal was announced.
Elliott’s stake makes it the second largest shareholder in Poundland behind Steinhoff. The deal could be scuppered if just 25 per cent shareholders vote against it.
Shares in Poundland closed at 224.7p on Friday, valuing the company at £603.8m.
Steinhoff’s bid for Poundland is its third attempt to acquire a European retailer this year after missing out on Argos and French electricals chain Darty.