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GPG/JO close in on Nationwide

Guinness Peat Group and JO Hambro have today acquired a further 1.25% of Nationwide Accident Repair Services' share capital, taking their stake to 45.98%.

The two venture capitalists raised their offer this week from 79p to 90p per share and are confident of taking a controlling interest in the accident repair network.

Blake Nixon, GPG UK executive director, said: “We now have effective control. It will be interesting to see if the management concedes defeat or decides to go down with the ship.”

Adrian Dunleavy, Nationwide chief executive, urged shareholders to take no action, but his pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears. He said the bidders were only interested in “buying the company on the cheap”.

GPG and JO Hambro intend to sack non-executive director on taking control of the company and carry out a strategic review of the business. They are expected to offload some of the 65 bodyshops, and might consider completely breaking up the group.

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