Jardine buys Appleyard for pounds 53m

Jardine International Motors yesterday seized control of Appleyard, the ailing West Yorkshire motor dealers, with a pounds 53m bid. Appleyard's chairman and chief executive, Mike Williamson, has agreed to accept the deal.

The two businesses are roughly equal in size and the deal will create the biggest single motor dealership in the UK with annual sales of pounds 1.3bn.

Jardine is paying 80p a share, a premium of 21 per cent on the market price of Appleyard shares on Thursday night, but well below the peak of 92p when Appleyard first emerged as a bid target earlier this summer. The two businesses were a good fit geographically and Appleyard's VW and Audi dealerships would fit well with Jardine's strength in Fords, Jardine's chief executive, Peter Ward, a former chief executive of Rolls-Royce, said yesterday.

Mr Ward said that Jardine would surrender Appleyard's Scandia lorry franchise in return for a payment of pounds 7.5m and there would be some adjustments in its list of dealerships, but Jardine would keep the Minories Vauxhall business and the contract hire business.

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