Lilliput founder to make pounds 6m from sale to Stanhome

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The Independent Online
DAVID TATE, the founder of the giftware maker Lilliput, will receive pounds 6m on the sale of the business to its US rival, Stanhome. The agreed offer at 160p a share values the concern at pounds 37m, writes Robert Cole.

Stanhome has had acceptances from 44 per cent of shareholders - including Mr Tate, the other directors, their families and two venture capital firms. It also bought 13 per cent of the company in the market yesterday. Lilliput was floated just over a year ago at 135p a share. The shares touched 141p in January but had sunk to 92p prior to the Stanhome bid.

Mr Tate's pounds 6m from the sale of his 16.5 per cent stake comes on top of the pounds 2m he made selling shares in the flotation.

Mr Tate, who started the business in 1982 from his home in the Lake District, is Lilliput's technical director and will remain with the company under its new ownership. The other five directors own 6 per cent of the company, a holding worth pounds 2.2m. John Russell, chairman and chief executive, has raised pounds 1m in yesterday's sale, adding to the pounds 500,000 he earned in last year's float.

Stanhome is one of the 500 largest companies quoted on the New York Stock Exchange. It sells giftware and dolls in North America, Europe, Australia and South America. It had a small distribution agreement for the UK, but yesterday's acquisition is its first big move in this country.

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