Ushers goes private with fresh venture capital bid

USHERS OF Trowbridge the regional brewer whose shares were floated in March last year at 110p a share, is set to return to the private sector under its existing management after a chequered career as a public company which cost it an estimated pounds 3.5m in fees.

Alchemy, the Guernsey-based venture capital specialist whose initial bid of 117p lapsed after just a fortnight last October after the stock market suffered a sharp fall and the backing finance was withdrawn, returned yesterday with a fresh bid of 112p, which the independent directors have recommended and the main shareholders have agreed to accept.

The offer is 24 per cent above the market price before the initial offer was made on 2 October and 15 per cent above the closing price of 97.5p last Friday. The shares rose 13p to 110.5p yesterday.

Three venture capital groups which hold 49.3 per cent of the shares - Schroders Buy-Out Fund Number 2, SBC Equity Partners and Indelec, an SBC venture fund - have agreed to accept a reduced price of 106p for their holdings in order to bridge a gap between the maximum price the buyout team was willing to offer and the minimum price the independent directors were willing to accept on behalf of the private shareholders.

The management team will also sell their 7.7 per cent stake in the company in a separate deal, and surrender their options over a further 1.4 per cent, in return for a package of new shares and loan stock valued at pounds 2.3m plus pounds 6.25m in cash. Their contracts will be unchanged, and the 330 employees have also been given continuity of employment

Roger North, chief executive, said the buyout would give the management greater freedom to run the business and end a period of uncertainly which had led to a drop in the morale of employees and the departure of several key managers.

Ushers, which owns the brewery in Wiltshire and an estate of 574 pubs in the Midlands, the South and South-west England and South Wales, was originally part of Grand Metropolitan, but was sold off in 1991 to a management team led by three GrandMet directors.

Profits in the year to the end of October rose 29 per cent to pounds 13.4m after exceptional costs of pounds 600,000, on a turnover which increased 17 per cent to pounds 82.3m. Profits were below market forecasts, reflecting the difficult conditions in the industry, but all three divisions increased their contribution to operating profits, the chairman Tom Vyner said yesterday.

The pub estate reported a 14 per cent increase, and 5 per cent on a like- for-like basis, ahead of the UK market average.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
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

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

Technical Support Analyst (C++, Windows, Linux, Perl, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests