Roditi launches pounds 31m bid for P&G

Peace broke out yesterday between Plantation & General Investments and the Zimbabwean raiding party which hopes to turn this obscure African plantation company into the latest emerging market growth stock.

Nick Roditi, the fund manager linked with both George Soros and before that Lord (Jacob) Rothschild, has launched a pounds 31.5m takeover bid for P&G after taking his stake to 43 per cent by picking up 14 per cent from his erstwhile adversary, Konrad Legg, the group's long-standing chairman. The offer came at the 11th hour to avert a showdown between the two sides at yesterday's annual meeting.

Mr Legg has been resisting attempts by Mr Roditi to have him removed and replaced by Mr Roditi's friends, fellow Zimbabwean and former Bank of England deputy governor, Rupert Pennant-Rea, and Derek Netherton, a one-time corporate financier at Schroders.

Now Mr Legg has agreed to go quietly, pocketing around pounds 3.6m and keeping a stake of just under 3 per cent in the company. Selwyn Pryor, another director, is also retiring, with Messrs Pennant-Rea and Netherton joining an otherwise unchanged board. The two newcomers pick up 500,000 options, exerciseable at the 80p offer price.

The bid compares with an indicative offer of 58p a share made earlier this year by Rovida, Mr Roditi's vehicle for the takeover, which was dismissed as inadequate by the board.

The shares rose 1p to 82.5p yesterday.