AM Online

Chairman Whale back in control of Ryland Group

Peter Whale finally reclaimed control of Ryland after a year of upheaval when both Guinness Peat and Pendragon threatened to buy the group.

Chairman Whale secured the deal after raising his bid from 155p to 160p a share, which allowed him to buy Pendragon's near-30 per cent stake – giving him 80 per cent of Ryland Group. Earlier he had warned shareholders the company would lose its franchises unless questions over future ownership were settled urgently.

In reply, Pendragon chief executive Trevor Finn said he was studying the details of Whale's 155p offer – and had not ruled out launching his own bid. However, Whale's newly-established takeover organisation Rydnal emerged victorious after its bid for Ryland was declared unconditional.

“This secures the future of the company,” Whale told AM. “Our franchises are secure, and we carry on as before – but as a private company without the restrictions that are an integral part of being a listed company.”

The 160p per share offer valued Ryland Group at £47.4m Pendragon's stake was acquired from Guinness Peat last year at 130p. Guinness Peat itself failed to buy Ryland in July 2002.

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