City File: Greene King

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The Independent Online
DESPITE Greene King's failure, the prize for the week's most unsuccessful bid went to T Cowie, which received just 0.59 per cent acceptances from shareholders of the rival car distributor Henly's. The recently knighted Sir Tom Cowie had made an opportunist all-paper bid now worth just 66p after a slump in Henly's share price from 70p to 50p due to warnings of a bad half-year.

Henly's had been hard hit by a 50 per cent slump in the market for the coaches made by its Plaxton subsidiary, which holds half the domestic bus and coach market. But the new chief executive, Robert Wood, has now completed some drastic pruning of factories and is selling a new line into Europe.

Henly's shares, at 66p, did not budge on the failure. Clearly the institutional shareholders, who hold most of the stock, are likely to remain as faithful as those of Morland's in the face of any renewed bid by Cowie, which would clearly have to be a lot higher (and contain a cash alternative) to have any hope. So Henly's remains an excellent two-way bet given the recovery prospects, and the hot competition for distributorships after a Monopolies Commission report gave a new lease of life to the present system.

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