UB hunts would-be predator

United Biscuits is bracing itself for a possible takeover bid by taking measures to flush out stake-builders who may be using nominees to disguise their identity.

The company has also asked its broker, SG Warburg, to investigate the reasons behind a rapid rise in the company's share price 10 days ago. The Stock Exchange is also investigating the price movement.

It has also emerged that some of United Biscuits' directors would stand to receive more than £1m each if control of the company changed hands. The directors have additionally benefited by changes to the company's long-term incentive scheme. New rules make it easier for the directors to make big cash gains.

United Biscuits has sent out notices under section 212 of the Companies Act, which force nominees listed on the company's share register to divulge the beneficial owner of the stake. The company recently stepped up its surveillance of nominee accounts to flush out holdings in excess of 70,000 shares.

John Warren, finance director, said: "Every time we pick up a paper United Biscuits is down as a likely candidate for takeover. Given that situation, it is likely United Biscuits' management are keeping a close eye on the share register."

The Stock Exchange is investigating a 23p jump in the share price a week last Friday. It fell 19p on the following Monday. Market sources believe the rise was caused by a maverick broker talking up bid rumours to make a quick profit.

In the event of a takeover, United Biscuits' executive directors, who are all on three-year rolling contracts, could be in line for pay-outs that in some cases would top £1m.

Eric Nicoli, the chief executive, on a base salary for 1994 of £386,250, could expect more than £1.15m to buy his contract out. Brian Chadburn, the head of the company's US operation, who is paid $556,400, could take away $1.67m (£1.1m).

Under changes to the company's incentive scheme for senior managers, there are bonuses if United Biscuits' earnings per share show real growth of 3 per cent. Instead of the cash payments made under the earlier scheme, the directors are to receive shares. Mr Nicoli's share bonus this year could be worth up to £715,000.

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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map