Boosey & Hawkes puts itself up for auction

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The Independent Online

Boosey & Hawkes, the music publisher and instruments maker, has put itself up for sale after ending exclusive talks with a consortium that could have led to a takeover offer.

Boosey & Hawkes, the music publisher and instruments maker, has put itself up for sale after ending exclusive talks with a consortium that could have led to a takeover offer.

The 200-year old company, which makes woodwind, brass and stringed instruments, said it will begin an open auction process as soon as possible. It will either be sold as a whole or as two separate divisions.

Boosey & Hawkes announced earlier this week that it had received a joint approach, believed to be from a US consortium lead by Graphite Capital, the private equity firm.

Richard Holland, the chief executive, said: "There were two issues [regarding why Boosey & Hawkes called off the talks], firstly the level relative to the underlying value of the business and secondly the conditional nature of the approach."

The offer was thought to be in the region of £50m, a premium of almost 60 per cent to last Friday's closing price of 103.5p. Yesterday, the shares gained 12.5p to 175p.

The company will wrap the planned sale of its reed manufacturing division (RICO) into the instruments division. The publishing division includes the world's biggest catalogue of twentieth century classical music, with music ranging from Rachmaninov to Britten.

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