MWB 'holding gun to head' of rival investors

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The Independent Online

The spat between MWB Business Exchange and one of its investors escalated into open warfare yesterday over claims the management was "holding a gun" to minority shareholders' heads. This comes as a rival bidder last night walked away.

Pyrrho, which owns an 8 per cent holding in Business Exchange, is furious that management has failed to respond after it raised concerns over a deal to sell the group. The investor said it will block the recommended offer from MWB Group, which owns 72 per cent of Business Exchange.

Paul Cummins, Pyrrho's investment director, said: "MWB is holding a gun to the heads of Business Exchange's minority shareholders, and has presented us with a derisory offer, backed by the threat of a delisting if we don't comply. This is simply unacceptable." MWB's recommended offer is worth £32.7m, yet the independent board rejected a rival bid approach from Regus of £60m as undervaluing the company. As Regus failed to receive any engagement following its offer, it set a deadline of 5pm last night. It pulled the offer shortly after the deadline lapsed.

Business Exchange management had released a statement last Thursday, two days after Pyrrho's open letter querying the deal process, yet it failed to satisfy the investor.

Pyrrho said yesterday it was "very disappointed that MWB Business Exchange has ignored the concerns laid out", adding the reply had "failed to respond to any of the points in Pyrrho's letter or even refer to them".