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USA's Auto Nation joins Lithia, Penske and Hedin in Pendragon takeover battle

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American motor retailer AutoNation has now joined the bidding war for Pendragon, with its own 32p per share pitch matching the revised offer proposed by its US rival Lithia.

It means Lithia, the original bidder which had attracted the support of Pendragon's board, is now competing with two rival proposals.

A joint counter-offer had already been received by Pendragon from Penske Auto Group and Hedin Mobility last week at 28p per share, which Pendragon rejected, leading to the offer being increased to 32p per share late on Friday..

Pendragon said last night: "The board will consider the AutoNation proposal and will consult with its shareholders and provide an update in due course.

"There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made, nor to the terms of any such offer. Shareholders are advised to take no action at this time."

Pendragon chief executive Bill Berman headed AutoNation until 2017.

A shareholder meeting on October 6 is already scheduled to vote on the original deal which Pendragon's board has agreed with US-based Lithia Motors, which plans to sell all motor businesses to Lithia and leave Pendragon's Pinewood software business as a standalone, continuing publicly-listed company.

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