Wincanton is considering a move for British logistics giant Eddie Stobart, the rival confirmed today.
While it is yet to table an offer, Wincanton said it is “undertaking a diligence exercise on Eddie Stobart and its assets” to assess the merits of a tie-up.
Today’s announcement means Wincanton has until 5pm on 15 November to table a bid, while Eddie Stobart confirmed it has granted its competitor “due diligence access” ahead of the possible merger.
“No proposal has been made by Wincanton to Eddie Stobart as to the terms of any potential offer, and there can be no certainty that any offer will be made to Eddie Stobart shareholders,” Eddie Stobart said.
Eddie Stobart, named after its Cumbrian founder, is known for its distinctive green and red lorries. It has been a mainstay of the haulage business for more than 50 years, and operates about 2,500 lorries.
The firm floated on the Aim market in 2017 by then co-owners Stobart Group and Dbay Advisors.
The haulier was rocked by an accountancy scandal this year, which forced it to slash its figure for profit booked last year and caused its chief executive to quit.
Eddie Stobart shares were also frozen at 71p as a result – where they remain – well below their flotation price of 160p.
Wincanton is the third firm which has emerged trying to do a deal with Eddie Stobart in less than a month.
The haulier said earlier this week that discussions with private equity investor Dbay were ongoing. Dbay is its second-largest shareholder, and owns about one-tenth of the company, having owned 51 per cent before the float.
A third potential suitor, which was spearheaded by former chief executive Andrew Tinkler, withdrew from the race earlier this week.
Main image credit: Eddie Stobart