Lloyd Leisure rejected offers

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The Independent Online
DAVID Lloyd Leisure, the operator of sport and leisure clubs that will make its debut on the stock market on 19 March, has turned down takeover approaches from two quoted companies, industry sources say.

First Leisure, the owner of Blackpool Tower, numerous discos and ten-pin bowling alleys, is understood to have had talks with the company's founder, David Lloyd, the former tennis international.

David Lloyd Leisure is valued at pounds 70m by the 150p flotation price put on the shares. The pounds 59m placing and offer for sale of 39.4 million shares closes on Thursday.

John Conlan, chief executive of First Leisure, declined to confirm that talks had been held, but said: 'The area that David Lloyd trades in is one we've had more than a passing interest in.

'As everyone knows we've had ambitions for some time to be in the health and fitness business. His ambition has to build up in his own way. And we've always respected David's independence.'

City analysts have been anticipating an acquisitive move by First Leisure for some time. They believe the company will add a fourth leg to complement its mass-market leisure activities in resorts, bowling and discos.

The other approach is understood to have been made by Stanley Leisure, the betting shop, casino and snooker club group. Stanley's approach is believed to have been made in 1990, long before First Leisure made a move.

Lloyd, which owns seven clubs and is close to opening another in Glasgow, declined to comment.

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