01 June 1998
Unigate to wait for Hillsdown demerger

By FWi staff

DAIRY group Unigate – which last week pulled out of its £1.6 billion takeover talks with conglomerate Hillsdown Holdings – is expected to bid again, once the company is broken up.

Unigate, reportedly only interested in Hillsdowns food businesses, was expected to swiftly offload Hillsdowns furniture and building sectors if its bid was successful.

Analysts are now expecting Unigate to wait for Hillsdown to complete its demerger of its own business, and then snap up the food businesses.

Unigates initial offer was for 207p per share, but this was rejected by Hillsdown directors early last week.

Then on Friday (29 May), the Financial Times broke the story that fresh discussions – valuing Hillsdown shares at 217p each – had also collapsed. Unigate directors were supposedly unhappy with Hillsdowns terms and conditions on this occasion.

Earlier this year, Hillsdown announced that it would offload its furniture arm, float its chilled foods and housebuilding businesses, and leave the core of the group to trade as a grocery supply company.