Shareholders were left in the unusual position yesterday morning of having to decide between two identical bids of pounds 98.6m when Cala's MBO vehicle Dotterel raised its bid to 200p to match Miller's.
The dilemma presented itself after the Takeover Panel upheld its controversial ruling last Friday which hinged on the linguistic point that Miller could not raise its bid to its reserve offer of 210p because its offer document stated it would do so only if a higher, rather than a matching bid, was made by Dotterel. As Dotterel's long-awaited 200p offer hit the table shareholders decided, despite widely reported displeasure with the Takeover Panel's decision, that they would accept the management bid.
A Miller spokesman said the group would withdraw from the bidding war and offered to sell its 6 per cent stake to Dotterel, to take the vehicle over the 50 per cent required.
Robert Dick, the finance director of Dotterel and Cala, said: "I can't believe it. We started today with 6.7 per cent of the company and the response was just unbelievable. We're delighted. This broke on March 15, its been a long time and very difficult for employees."
Outlook, page 18