AM Online

GPG shares move sparks Ryland takeover rumour

Guinness Peat Group has been steadily increasing its share in the Ryland Group over the past two months, sparking speculation that it is preparing a takeover bid. The venture capitalist now has a 29.9 per cent stake in the £642m turnover dealer group, which is at No 12 in the AM100.

The stake is the maximum amount GPG is able to purchase before making an offer for a full holding. GPG says the move is part of its investment strategy which involves significant dealings in the motor retail sector, an area of business it believes represents “good value”.

But the company would not comment on whether it planned to launch a full takeover bid for Ryland. GPG last month acquired a controlling stake in Nationwide Accident Repair Services in a joint bid with JO Hambro. It accused the 65-strong bodyshop chain of failing to make adequate returns on investment after issuing a profits warning, but this is not a charge that is levelled against Ryland, which posted record pre-tax profits last year of £3.74m.

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