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.
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 3 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 4 Mafia's wall of silence broken: Victim of Cosa Nostra's extortion rackets in its Corleone heartland co-operates with authorities for the first time ever
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes
iJobs Money & Business
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...
Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...
£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...