HR Owen turns down investor’s takeover offer

Marion Dakers
LUXURY car dealership HR Owen yesterday spurned a takeover offer from its biggest shareholder, claiming the £32.5m bid was “unsolicited and unacceptable”.

HR Owen said Berjaya Philippines’ offer of 130p per share represented a premium of just 7.4 per cent on the share price before the bid was announced.

“The board believes the offer by Berjaya to be inadequate and at a level which materially undervalues the company,” a statement issued by HR Owen said.

“Therefore, the board strongly recommends that shareholders take no action in respect of this unsolicited and unacceptable offer from Berjaya.”

Berjaya spent £8.3m building a 29.8 per cent stake in HR Owen last month before offering to buy the rest of the firm’s shares.

Berjaya Philippines, majority owned by Hong Kong-based Berjaya Lottery Management Limited, did not consult with the firm’s board before making its bid on Wednesday.

HR Owen is Britain’s largest luxury and supercar dealership, selling high-end vehicles such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls Royces. It also has a growing used car business.

It said earlier this week that it expects trading this year to be ahead of expectations.

“The City is recognising the unique nature of the group’s product-base and customer profile,” said Edison Investment Research analyst Nigel Harrison.

HR Owen’s shares rose to 141.5p, putting them above the offer price.