Trimoco concedes to Hartwell

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The Independent Online
TRIMOCO has thrown in the towel against the pounds 30m takeover bid from Hartwell, the rival car dealer owned by the Jameel family of Saudi Arabia.

The company finally conceded defeat after the stock market closed yesterday, in the face of fresh share-buying by Hartwell.

The odds against Trimoco's survival as an independent company swung heavily against it on Wednesday, when Hartwell improved its cash terms from 17.5p to 20p per share. The increased offer was accompanied by a raid on Trimoco's shares. The manoeuvre netted 3.8 million Trimoco shares, taking Hartwell's shareholding to 42 per cent.

Another buying spree yesterday boosted its holding to 46.5 per cent. That proved too much for Trimoco.

An after-hours statement by Trimoco, led by Roger Smith, said: 'The company has reluctantly concluded, and has been advised by NM Rothschild, that in the absence of a higher offer, shareholders' interests will be best served by acceptance of Hartwell's revised offer.'

The capitulation brings to an end two takeover bids in the motor sector this week. On Tuesday, T Cowie abandoned its bid for Henlys, having fallen short of victory by 8 per cent.

There is now only one hostile bid left on the table: the pounds 11m, 200p-per-share offer by Brierley Investments of New Zealand for Gibbs Mew, the small brewer and pub operator based in Wiltshire.