Waddington bows to Mansfield's pounds 318.7m takeover approach

WADDINGTON, the former Monopoly maker which has turned its attention to plastic cups and packaging, bowed to a takeover yesterday when it agreed to a pounds 318.7m approach from John Mansfield Group, the timber products company. However, the company has not recommended the offer to shareholders, saying it will continue to seek competing bids.

The deal will end 90 years of independence for the Leeds-based group, which sold its Monopoly and Cluedo games division to US toymaker Hasbro for just pounds 50m five years ago.

During a difficult period in the 1980s Waddington fought off four hostile bids including two from the late Robert Maxwell.

Now a packaging group, Waddington has issued three profits warnings this year and effectively put itself up for auction in September when it announced it was in talks concerning a possible management buy-out.

Waddington shares rose 56.5p to 275p yesterday . John Mansfield shares closed up 1p at 8p.

John Mansfield is chaired by former Fisons' chairman Stuart Wallis and backed by shareholder activists Julian Treger and Brian Myerson. Their Active Value Fund has campaigned for shake-ups in companies such as Signet, Scholl and Liberty.

Mr Wallis said: "We aim to reposition Waddington as a more focused group; those businesses with growth opportunities will be identified and developed." He added that Mansfield was on the look out for further acquisitions. "There is a clear need to effect consolidation within the sector," he said.

Mr Wallis said Mansfield would conduct a three-month review of Waddington's operations. Units which were not seen as core to expansion would then be sold off. He said the company would not comment on potential job losses until the review was complete.

Analysts said the most likely candidate for disposal was Lermer, Waddington's US pharmaceutical packaging division, where a pounds 2.5m stock shortfall was recently discovered.

Waddington's major shareholders; Phillips & Drew Fund Management, Aberforth Partners and Aberforth Unit Trust Managers, who together hold a 19.1 per cent stake in the group, have granted their irrevocable approval to the deal.

Analysts said it was "possible but unlikely" that a counter-bidder would emerge. One said: "The company is suffering from a huge lack of credibility. There are skeletons left, right and centre."

Mansfield has offered 28.6 new Mansfield shares and 100p in cash for each Waddington share, valuing each Waddington share at 300p. The offer represents a premium of more than 48 per cent above Waddington's closing share price of 202p on 17 September, the day before it revealed it had received a preliminary takeover approach.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
football
Sport
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
News
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
people
News
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
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