B&B owner cuts risk of New World Oil takeover

Christopher Williams unintentionally bought a 48.7 per cent stake in New World Oil group in his mother’s name

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Judith Williams, the 76-year-old bed-and-breakfast owner who unwittingly found herself in the news because of her son’s stock market dealings, is selling shares rapidly to avoid having to mount a takeover bid for the Belize-focused oil explorer New World Oil and Gas.

It emerged earlier this week that Christopher Williams, who describes himself on his Twitter account as a City investor, unintentionally bought a 48.7 per cent stake in the oil group in his mother’s name, which left her facing having to make a mandatory takeover offer to other shareholders.

Mr Williams believed he was buying a 10 per cent stake. But as a proposed £1.5m shares placing in the business has not yet concluded, Mrs Williams’s stake ended up being above the 30 per cent threshold that triggers a mandatory offer.

New World told the Stock Exchange that the pensioner, who runs a small B&B in Worcestershire, had so far reduced her stake to 35.6 per cent. Daniel Levi Associates is advising the Williams family and hopes to get their stake below the 30 per cent threshold. Ahead of its extraordinary general meeting in Jersey on Tuesday, New World, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market, also warned investors and shareholders to exercise caution and take advice from authorised market professionals in dealing in the company’s shares “given the continuance of commentary on unauthorised and unregulated websites”.

It added that only those shareholders listed in the register of members of the company on 15 May would be entitled to attend or vote at the EGM.