Morland steps in to buy Unicorn for pounds 12.3m
Friday 18 August 1995
Morland, the Abingdon-based brewer famous for its Old Speckled Hen ale, has stepped in as a white knight for Unicorn Inns, the "Newt & Cucumber" pub group under siege from its rival Regent Inns.
Morland has stitched up an agreed pounds 12.3m deal to buy Unicorn and said yesterday it was at an advanced stage in talks for another retail acquisition, which it expects to announce within a fortnight. Shareholders are being called on for pounds 19.9m in a one-for-five rights issue at 465p to finance the deals.
Morland's chief executive, Michael Watts, denied speculation that the company was set to buy Surrey Free Inns, a pub group quoted on the Alternative Investment Market, but he said the deal would involve managed pubs in an adjacent geographical area and suggested further moves could follow.
Morland's shares fell 5p to 545p, while those of Regent Inns also slipped 5p to 475p as the company said it would allow its pounds 8.1m offer to lapse. Morland has tied up irrevocable undertakings for its offer from the owners of 51.7 per cent of Unicorn's shares.
Morland said improving the quality and size of its managed retail pubs had been a strategic priority in recent years. Expansion of its managed estate has been spearheaded by the Artist's Fare food chain, aimed at the older drinker. Unicorn will bring a new emphasis on high volume youth drinkers in city centres through the main Newt & Cucumber format, although the more genteel Wig & Pen concept is designed to attract female custom.
Morland is offering four of its own shares for every five in Unicorn, with a 402p-a-share cash alternative. Mr Watts said the price being paid worked out at just under pounds 1m per managed pub.
Morland also forecast a final dividend of at least 8.3p for this year.
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 'Necrophilia-obsessed' girl among double murder accused in three-way sex case
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
iJobs Money & Business
£70-90,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client a London Market Insurer are seeking a Pro...
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...