The Rothermere family won its latest battle to take the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday private after the owners of 57 per cent of the shares backed their recommended offer.
The Rothermere investment vehicle, who already controlled all of the ordinary shares in the company, agreed to de-list Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) last month after the sale of the group’s insurance business, as well as a listing of the online car seller Cazoo, which it partly owned.
During this period, there had been some criticism of the offer, with the suggestion that DMGT had been undervalued considering its ownership of many of the UK’s most-read titles, including the Metro and the i.
As Abi Watson, analyst at Enders Analysis, explained to City A.M., some investors were also reluctant that they could be “losing out” on any upside of online growth in titles like the Daily Mail if the group went private.
Nonetheless, Watson added: “What this ignores is how many more online users would be required to fully replace declining print revenues and the scale of investment needed to transition the print readers of the Daily Mail to an online membership model of some kind”.
So, in a grand push for privatisation, the Rothermeres increased the cash component of their offer to buy out other shareholders to 270p per share, and shifted their bid from £850m to £871m earlier this month.
The offer included a special dividend of 568p a share, 0.5749 Cazoo shares for each DMGT share and final dividend of 17.3p.
The final advance by Rothermere backers also came this week when the largest non-family shareholder, Nick Train, and founder of Lindsell Train, pushed forward the Rothermere offer.
He said that the DMGT “has always fascinated me” and “the prospect of embodying its value with a record-high stock price offer has a clear appeal”.
The offer will remain open until early January and the total return to shareholders will be valued at about 1,278p per share.
No decision has been made around the exact date that DMGT will be delisted from the London Stock Exchange, where it has lived for 90 years.