Granada may face DTI quiz on bid document
Tuesday 23 January 1996
Granada last night faced possible action by the Department of Trade and Industry as the clock ticked down to today's 1pm deadline for its pounds 3.9bn bid for Forte.
The DTI is prepared to consider evidence that Granada misled shareholders by publicly understating its asset disposal programme in its original offer document, according to an answer to a written question by Luton North MP John Carlisle.
The issue relates to Granada's promise, detailed in the offer document, to "capitalise on the Meridien brand" if its bid succeeded. But by the time an increased offer was unveiled six weeks later, Granada had decided to sell the hotels outright.
Pointing to comments by Gerry Robinson, Granada's chief executive, that appeared in the Independent earlier this month, Forte suggested Granada had intended all along to sell the hotels.
In the article, published on 10 January, Mr Robinson is quoted as saying: ''We downplayed our intentions because we were bloody nervous that Forte might paint us as asset strippers."
A Granada insider said: "This is of huge unimportance. Clearly, this is the result of a planted question."
Any action by the DTI would come long after shareholders cast their bids today.
Success for Granada would mark the end of a UK hotels dynasty, and the beginning of a radical restructuring of the hotels and restaurants business where Forte had made its name.
"It may be close, but Granada must look like winning," one analyst said.
A Granada spokesman said the company was "quietly confident", following several days of meetings with insitutions and telephone talks with private investors over the weekend.
A Forte spokesman disputed the consensus view in the City, claiming that the outcome was going to be "very, very close".
He added: "Shareholders have waited until the very last moment to make a decision, suggesting there is still a lot to play for."
Mercury Asset Management, which holds 14.1 per cent of Forte, is tipped to tender its shares to Granada, although the investment fund's chief strategist, vice-chairman Carol Galley, had no comment yesterday.
Meanwhile, Whitbread held its much-trailed meeting with MAM yesterday, in an effort to convince Ms Galley to back Forte's independence.
If Forte sees off the bid, Whitbread will pay pounds 1.05bn for the Little Chef and Happy Eater roadside restaurants, the Welcome Break motorway service centres and Forte's Travelodge budget hotels.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
First full-length look is finally here
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...