PizzaExpress founder prompts dizzying rise in Lionheart
Wednesday 01 December 1999
In scenes reminiscent of the hysteria surrounding the reverse takeover of Knutsford by Archie Norman, the former Asda chairman, Lionheart shares closed at 29.75p, up from 11.5p the previous day.
Mr Johnson, the former chairman of PizzaExpress who now chairs the Belgo restaurant chain and co-manages Intrinsic Value, an investment trust, has clubbed together with Gary Ashworth, the founder of Abacus Recruitment, and the Hong Kong-based fund manager Jim Mellon to take a 29.9 per cent stake in Lionheart.
The three men will subscribe to pounds 3.2m worth of shares under a placing and open offer at 6p a share, and will be granted warrants for another 30 per cent of the company at the same price. Lionheart plans to raise another pounds 2m through the offer, which will be announced later this month. Shareholders will be able to subscribe to a pounds 1m open offer at 6p a share while another pounds 1m will be placed privately by the house broker, Collins Stewart.
The three men hope to use the company as a cash shell to acquire businesses in the services sector. Lionheart also plans to move its share listing to the AIM, where it is easier to raise money.
Mr Johnson said: "Our intention is to do what I've done before, which is to find a substantial business or businesses and reverse them into Lionheart." Peter Pollock, Lionheart's chairman who will remain as a non-executive director, said: "They're a very talented bunch.... Watch this space."
Mr Mellon runs Regent Pacific, which forced the break-up of Hambros, the investment bank, while Mr Ashworth sold Abacus Recruitment last year for pounds 14.6m to Carlisle Holdings, the support-services group owned by Michael Ashcroft, the Conservative Party treasurer.
Although Mr Johnson and Mr Pollock claimed that "no specific acquisition targets have yet been identified", it is understood that the group has its sights set on an Internet company but that shares in Lionheart would have to climb to around 50p before they could afford it.
Outlook, page 19
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...