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Business News

'Marie Claire' printer agrees to £80m bid from Icelanders

Tony Austin, the managing director of the Wyndeham Argent pre-press services division, stands to collect £2.5m from his 3 per cent shareholding in the company, while the chairman, Bryan Bedson, is set to get £2.3m.

Wyndeham is joining a score of British companies that have been snapped up by Icelandic companies in the past couple of years. Dagsbrun, based in Reykjavik, said its Daybreak Acquisitions arm was buying Wyndeham, which prints 600 titles a month, for an agreed 155p a share in cash. The price represents a 22 per cent premium to Wednesday's closing price of 127.5p, the day before Wyndeham announced it had received a takeover approach.

Dagsbrun's chairwoman, Thordis Sigurdardottir, said: "We've been looking for a nice investment opportunity in the UK and this one certainly meets our expectations."

A spokeswoman for Wyndeham said there would be "minimal change" at the company, with the management staying on the board under "revised terms of service". Wyndeham's shares have risen 19 per cent recently on the back of takeover speculation, and a three-year deal worth £20m the company won from the UK publisher Emap.

Iceland's second-biggest bank, Landsbanki, backed Dagsbrun by providing a £162.8m funding package as well as advice.

Seeking to diversify their businesses, Icelandic companies have gone on acquisition sprees abroad, picking up assets mainly in the UK and Scandinavia. The retail group Baugur is Dagsbrun's main shareholder, with a 28 per cent stake. Baugur owns much of the UK high street, from the fashion chains Oasis, Jane Norman and Karen Millen to the toy shop Hamleys. Landsbanki bought Teather & Greenwood, the London-based securities broker, last year.