Thistle shares slump 26% as bid talks fail

SHARES IN Thistle Hotels, the UK's second-largest hotel chain, plunged 22 per cent yesterday, wiping more than pounds 280m from the company's market value, as the stock market reacted with dismay to the collapse of bid talks with the Japanese bank, Nomura.

A wave of selling left the stock 48p lower at 168p, the worst performer in the FTSE 250 index. City analysts predicted that Thistle's main shareholder, the New Zealand investment giant, Brierley Investments, would have problems in finding another buyer for its 91 hotels.

"It is clearly disappointing news for Thistle and more so for Brierley which has committed itself to getting rid of these assets," one analyst said.

The owner of landmark London hotels such as the Tower Thistle and the Grosvenor said late on Monday that it had terminated discussions with a mystery bidder - believed to be Nomura - because the offer was "unacceptable".

The Japanese bank is understood to have reduced its initial offer of up to pounds 1.5bn by around 10 per cent because of recent volatility in financial markets. Nomura declined to comment yesterday.

The collapse of talks is a huge blow for Brierley's plans to sell its 46 per cent stake in the business as part of an overhaul of its European holdings. Sources close to Brierley said that the company would keep its stake in Leeds-based Thistle for the time being and was not prepared to sell at any price offered.

They added that Brierley was now working with Thistle's management on a plan to return up to pounds 250m to shareholders via a share buyback or exceptional dividend.

Sources close to Thistle said that its plans to sell 30 regional hotels were on course, with two bidders still in the running, and added that it would look to sell individual hotels in the near future.

The company wants to dispose of most of its three-star hotels in order to focus on the higher-margin four-star properties.

However, City analysts said that Thistle's attempts to sell its assets would be hampered by increasing competition in the pounds 8.8bn UK hotel industry.

"Stakis and Millennium & Copthorne have indicated they would be willing buyers of London hotels, but in all honesty [pub and hotel group] Vaux's Swallow hotels are a much better product," one City observer said. "Thistle is going to have to try hard to sell them for a decent price."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea