Enterprise captures Century with pounds 79m strike

ENTERPRISE INNS, the pub owner, yesterday scooped up its rival Century Inns within hours of making an unsolicited pounds 79.1m bid at the behest of institutional shareholders.

Century executives were suddenly faced with the certainty of being unseated, just hours after the announcement of the paper bid, which offers 0.3942 new shares in Enterprise for every share in Century.

The takeover will mean the departure of Century's executives and the closure of its head office, which employs fewer than 40 people. Enterprise said it would "generally keep all the people running their pubs".

Sources at Enterprise said the bid was a shareholder initiative, led by nine institutions who wanted to see the creation of a pub-owning giant. "We were not interested in a long, drawn-out battle and we made it very clear we would proceed only with their support," the source said.

By this morning, when Century executives learnt of the bid, Enterprise already had undertakings or statements of intent in respect of 44.8 per cent of the company. By 3pm the offer, which values Century at 147p a share, went unconditional.

Yesterday, Century at first said it was considering the offer and promised a statement. By the afternoon it said it would have to delay publishing a statement until today.

In January, institutional shareholders contacted Ted Tuppen, chief executive of Enterprise, after rumours emerged about a deal with Inn Business, another rival. Led by Morgan Grenfell Asset Management, M&G, Scottish Equitable and Norwich Union, the shareholders said they would prefer a takeover of Century. They added that there was more than 50 per cent support.

Enterprise and Century floated in 1995 as separate companies. Both held pubs formerly owned by Bass, but Enterprise ran all its pubs as tenancies rather than the managed houses favoured by Century.

Analysts said that Century, led by Alistair Arkley, had not been helped by its disappointing share-price performance. According to Enterprise, the total shareholder return on pounds 100 invested in Enterprise on flotation was now pounds 327, as against pounds 120 for an investment in Century.

"Whether the board accepts is immaterial now. Unfortunately, companies can end up being run by institutional shareholders and in this case, they want a faster-growing company, which Enterprise is," said one.

Shares in Century closed yesterday at 141.5p, up from 115p. Shares in Enterprise closed down 7p at 373.5p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst with experienc...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Sales Team Leader - Wakefield, West Yorkshire

£21000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged b...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders