Bass wins leisure battle
Its offer is thought to have comfortably exceeded one from Allied Leisure. However, defeat for Allied is unlikely to affect its hopes of merging with rival European Leisure, a deal likely to get the go-ahead from shareholders on Wednesday.
Bass will acquire First Leisure's 26 tenpin bowling alleys which it plans to merge with its own Hollywood Bowl chain. As part of the package, Bass is also likely to take control of the Snow Dome, a ski-slope complex in Tamworth, and Trecco Bay, a caravan park in South Wales. These interests are likely to be sold on.
"Bass only really wanted the bowling alleys," said one industry source, "but at a price as high as that, First Leisure will be happy to throw in the other leisure businesses."
First Leisure, led by chief executive Michael Grade, is selling off a variety of businesses to concentrate on health and fitness clubs. It has already disposed of its bingo halls and its resorts division, which includes Blackpool Tower. Its nightclubs and bars are also up for sale. A spokesman for First Leisure said: "As soon as there is a deal, we will make an announcement."
Bass's bid comfortably beat a rival offer from Allied Leisure, the bowling- to-Burger King group which teamed up with venture capitalist Duke Street Capital to bid.
However, Allied remains favourite to defeat rival Waterfall in the long, bitter battle to buy European Leisure, the pool hall and nightclub operator.
Allied, whose bid for European runs out on Wednesday, is expected to top the 50 per cent of acceptances necessary to merge the companies and frustrate Waterfall.
Last night Neil Goulden, managing director of Allied, said: "Following meetings with European shareholders we are confident of their support."
Fidelity, the fund manager which owns 10 per cent of European, is tomorrow expected to pledge its support for Allied. Both Schroders and Philips & Drew, which between them hold 23 per cent of European shares, also have large stakes in Allied and are thought to favour a merger of the two.
Waterfall, which believes its own interests in pool halls represents a better fit with European, had secured the support of 12 per cent of European shareholders at the last count. The company has fought a high- profile campaign to frustrate European's plan to merge with Allied. John Garrett, the former leisure supremo at Rank, was drafted in as chairman to strengthen Waterfall's case.
The bid battle is one of a number of deals expected in the leisure sector, an area which in recent years has been spurned by investors.
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...
£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...