29 May 1998
Unigate shares soar after Hillsdown talks collapse
By FWi staff
SHARES in Unigate soared today after the dairy group abandoned its second attempted takeover bid of foods-to-furniture company Hillsdown.
Unigate called off talks with Hillsdown bid in the early hours of this morning. By 2pm today (Friday), Unigate shares had climbed 28.50p to 665p, a gain of 4.48%.
Unigates first bid offer of 207p per share for Hillsdown was rejected by the company last week. But it upped its offer to 215p per share – a potential deal which would have valued Hillsdown at almost £1.6 billion.
A Unigate source close to the negotiations told FWi that the offer had stumbled in the final stages after company officials had found serious short-comings in Hillsdowns projected finances.
“Unigate walked away in reaction to due-diligence information they were shown by Hillsdown representatives,” the source said.
Hillsdown sources angrily denied that Unigates assessment of the company had uncovered anything untoward. Other analysts suggested that Unigate had approached the talks in an amateur fashion.
Shares in Hillsdown dropped 22p to 184.5p after the talks were abandoned, equivalent to a drop of 10.65%.