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Major shareholder blocks £460m Pendragon takeover talks

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One of Pendragon’s five major shareholders has blocked a £460m takeover bid launched for the AM100 car retail PLC by “a large international corporate”.

An announcement issued via the London Stock Exchange this morning (August 5) stated that the Pendragon board had engaged with its major shareholders over the 29p per share offer after deeming that it “merited engagement with its five largest shareholders”

But despite strong support for the proposal from four shareholders, who were willing to sign irrevocable commitments, the board was unable to engage with one shareholder.

The bidder then withdrew its offer due to a lack of certainty about a positive conclusion, today’s statement revealed.

Pendragon said the bid had been “contingent on receipt of irrevocable commitments from all of Pendragon's major shareholders”.

The latest bid for Pendragon comes five months after shareholder Anders Hedin, boss of Swedish car retailer Hedin Group, tabled a bid which was rejected by the PLC's board.

Back in May the vocal Pendragon shareholder then acquired shares to increase his stake to just over 27% of voting rights - securing his position as the business's major shareholder.

One industry commentator speculated today: "I suspect Hedin either initiated or blocked the takeover bid for Pendragon, but I'm not sure which."

According to Refinitiv Eikon data Pendragon's other four largest shareholders are Schroders, Odey, Briarwood Chase and Hosking Partners. Together with Hedin they have a combined stake of 64.78%.

News of the takeover comes two years after talks between Pendragon and Lookers about a potential merger stalled, ending a process which would have created the UK’s largest car retail group.

Pendragon said today that it continues to believe strongly that its market-leading proposition positions it to capitalise on the growth opportunities and navigate near term market headwinds.

Last month Pendragon chief executive Bill Berman said that an anticipated £33 million underlying first-half pre-tax profit will give the car retail PLC “good momentum” for H2 2022.

The group expects its profitability to decline by around 5.9% despite its strong start to the year, however, claiming that its performance has been offset by an increase in underlying operating costs of approximately £20m, including an £8.3m impact from the removal of government support, a £7m increase in marketing costs as it relaunched its CarStore used car retail division and wider inflationary cost pressures.

The period to June 30 saw Pendragon’s Car Store operations grow with a CarStore Experience Centre concept in Chesterfield and an expanded network of small-scale Car Store Direct retail sites at Homebase stores and Morrisons supermarkets across the UK.

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