Thistle to return pounds 120m to shareholders

NOMURA'S ATTEMPTS to buy Thistle Hotels collapsed yesterday after the group, which owns the Tower Thistle and the Mount Royal Hotels in London, rejected a bid from the Japanese bank because it was too low.

As partial compensation for the failure of the bid hotel chain is now believed to be planning to return more than pounds 120m to shareholders, it emerged yesterday.

In a statement released after the stock market closed, Thistle said that it had terminated talks with one suitor - which sources close to the company identified as Nomura - because it had cut its original bid to an "unacceptable" level.

The sources added that Nomura reduced its original bid - rumoured to have been around pounds 1.5bn - by up to 10 per cent due to "the volatility in financial markets over the last week". This led Thistle, which owns 91 hotels around the country, to reject the offer.

Nomura was yesterday unvailable for comment.

Thistle, whose largest shareholder is Brierley Investments, yesterday ruled out another offer from one of the bidders shortlisted in June when the company first put itself up for sale. That list was thought to include the venture capital group Blackstone, and Accor, the French owner of the Ibis and Sofitel chains. Thistle has been a prized target for a number of hotel companies, because of the heavy London weighting of its portfolio. The company owns 24 hotels in London, including the Tower Thistle at Tower Bridge and the Mount Royal at Marble Arch.

The company said it was "disappointing that the sale process did not produce an offer at a value that reflected" the "excellent potential" of Thistle's hotel portfolio.

However, it added that Thistle would be able to survive on its own and was planning a "substantial return of cash to shareholders'" which would enhance earnings per share and mantain " a sound financial position".

Sources said that the company was considering "all options, including a share buyback and an exceptional dividend", and indicated that shareholders are set to receive more than pounds 120m in cash.

"The return of cash would be in excess of 10 per cent of the company's market capitalisation, which has been between pounds 1.2-1.3bn in the past few months," they added.

Thistle sounded a bullish note on its trading to date, saying that the board "expects to confirm good progress for the half year" when it reports interim results on September 9.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine