UK Estates bid goes to the wire

The hostile battle for control of UK Estates went to the wire last night as Ashquay, which is bidding pounds 21m for the Manchester-based property development group, sought to buy shares in the market to secure outright victory.

In a statement issued to the Stock Exchange last night after the final closing date for its offer had closed, Ashquay said that with the Takeover Panel's approval, it would announce the level of acceptances by midnight.

But the outcome looked too close to call after shares in UK Estates closed 0.75p higher at 28.5p, while Ashquay ended 0.5p better at 40p, valuing the bid at 30.8p. Ashquay is offering 10 shares for every 13 ordinary UK Estates shares.

Just minutes before the offer closed Ashquay said it would borrow up to pounds 750,000 "on normal commercial terms" to acquire shares in UK Estates. The money will be borrowed from Close Brothers, a subsidiary of Close Brothers Finance, who are acting as financial advisers to Ashquay.

Ashquay is thought to have used the money to go into the market and buy a 3 per cent stake held in UK Estates by the Co-Op Bank. Sources familiar with the bid said uncertainty about whether Ashquay would be able to secure registration of the Co-Op shares with the Takeover Panel had caused a delay in the outcome of the bid being announced.

Ashquay has already won over investors speaking for 38 per cent of UK Estates' ordinary shares and 16 per cent of its preference shares.

During the often acrimonious bid battle Ashquay sought to increase the pressure on UK Estates by sticking to yesterday's deadline as the final closing date for its offer. The Takeover Code had allowed for Ashquay to extend its offer until 27 January.

At one stage, Ashquay accused UK Estates' directors of having a "thorough disregard for shareholders' interests and of "mismanaging the company". It also highlighted UK Estates' administrative costs, which last year totalled pounds 970,000, and the pounds 530,000 UK Estates spent on shares for an employee benefit trust.

Last year pre-tax profits at UK Estates fell from pounds 610,000 to pounds 382,000.

But UK Estates rejected the offer, noting Ashquay is a smaller company with net assets less than half those of UK Estates. It also derided the lack of a cash alternative.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

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