Ronson receives takeover approach from mystery bidder

Ronson, the troubled lighters to branded clothes group which has just undergone a big board upheaval, saw its shares rise 2.5p to 21p yesterday after it revealed it had received an unsolicited takeover approach.

Mystery surrounded the identity of the possible bidder, although it is definitely not Howard Hodgson, the recently ousted chief executive.

Mr Hodgson, who still owns just under 2 per cent of Ronson and has previously been linked to bid rumours, said yesterday: "It genuinely isn't me. The situation is that I am at a complete loss as to who it would be."

The flamboyant Mr Hodgson was stripped of his executive duties in June and left the board at Ronson's annual meeting on Wednesday in the wake of the departure of his girlfriend and acting finance director, Christine Pickles.

Shaun Dowling, the company doctor who moved up to become executive chairman after Mr Hodgson left, refused to give any clue as to who was making the latest approach.

However, he said he hoped the issue would be resolved "before too long" as it was "slightly disruptive to the normal course of business".

Speculation last night centred on the Albion Consortium, a New York-based fund which invests in smaller British companies. The company helped to underwrite last November's rights issue to raise pounds 10.4m at 25p a share and now has an 18 per cent stake. Despite the fact that the shares have been as low as 12.5p, Albion is thought to have turned down an offer from a large Far Eastern group in the region of 26p a share.

Mr Dowling refused to comment on the speculation, but added: "I couldn't disagree with the logic that someone else could develop [Ronson] better than us. They would have more resources than us. I couldn't deny that."

Early last month, Ronson announced that profits of pounds 2.76m had turned into a loss of pounds 2.17m in 1996, some pounds 200,000 higher than forecast in an earlier profit warning. The group suffered a pounds 900,000 write-off for bad debts and warned of further "significant" losses in the first half.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before