Since negotiations are taking longer than expected, newspaper tycoon Lord Rothermere has been granted a one-month extension to make an offer for the group behind the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro newspapers.
A previous deadline was set for today but negotiations with the pension trustees at the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) are taking longer than expected.
The businessman now has until 5pm on 28 October to make a binding offer in the region of £800m or walk away under stock market rules. He is currently the biggest shareholder in the group, which has been listed on the stock market since 1932.
The company said: “Whilst two pre-conditions to the possible offer have now been satisfied, discussions continue with the trustees of DMGT’s three pension schemes, in respect of the satisfaction of the remaining non-waivable pre-condition of the possible offer.”
Three pre-conditions of any deal were: a successful stock market listing of used car business Cazoo, which DMGT had a stake in, the sale of the company’s insurance division, RMS, and a deal with pensioners.
Cazoo listed on the New York Stock Exchange in August and RMS was sold this month.
But the sticking point remains between pension trustees and the company, with pensioners expecting a substantial cash injection into the fund.
A source close to the plans told the PA news agency: “The fact Lord Rothermere hasn’t walked away would suggest he still thinks a deal can be struck.”
Negotiations are ongoing over what level of funding will be handed over, with a precedent set following the sale of DMGT’s 50% stake in Euromoney in 2019, which led to the pension fund receiving some of the spoils.