Yates shareholders cave in to £98m GI offer

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The Independent Online

The battle for control of Yates Group, the high street pubs chain, ended yesterday when GI Partners increased its offer by £5m to £98m.

The battle for control of Yates Group, the high street pubs chain, ended yesterday when GI Partners increased its offer by £5m to £98m.

This amounts to an extra 7p a share, which was enough to persuade members of the Yates and Dickson family, substantial shareholders in Yates, to accept the offer. A consortium of family members, representing 20 per cent of Yates, said on Wednesday the original 140p a share offer undervalued the company and it would not accept it.

GI Partners, through its bid vehicle Thorium, threatened to walk away, and it is understood it had begun talks to acquire Laurel's high street pubs chain as an alternative deal.

But signs that GI was prepared to give in on price emerged yesterday morning, when it agreed to extend the deadline for its 140p offer, saying it had 33 per cent acceptances from shareholders.

Discussions with the family consortium and its advisers, Investec, continued throughout the day, and by late afternoon, GI had revised its offer to 147p a share. "We met, we had constructive talks, they listened, they raised the price, and we're delighted," a spokesman for the consortium said.

GI now has support from about 54 per cent of shareholders, and the remainder have until 9 August to decide whether to accept.

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