29 May 1998
Hillsdown and Unigate abandon merger talks

TALKS about a possible agreed bid by Unigate for Hillsdown were abandoned last night, reports the Financial Times.

Both companies issued a statement earlier in the day saying that they were discussing a full bid of 217p a share – valuing Hillsdown at £1.59 billion.

Sources close to the negotiations had expected a better-than-even chance of a deal by this morning.

As both camps entered the talks, Hillsdown directors were said to be happy with the 217p offer which was 10p higher than Unigates offer earlier in the year. It was also above most analysts expectations of between 190p and 210p.

All the other broadsheets had not updated the story, reporting that the two groups were still close to an agreement.

A comment piece in the Financial Times says Unigate had been “itching” to do a big deal. But suggests that Hillsdown, which is bigger than Unigate and rather tarnished, is probably not what its investors had in mind.

  • Financial Times 29/05/98 page 22 (Lex), page 23, page 25, page 48 (Stock Markets).
  • The Daily Telegraph 29/05/98 page 36
  • The Independent 29/05/98 page 26, page 27 (Shares)
  • The Guardian 29/05/98 page 26, page 23
  • The Times 29/05/98 page 29, page 31 (Commentary), page 32 (Stock Market)