Hanson rival fires in bid for RHM

Click to follow
A BATTLE for ownership of Mr Kipling cakes began yesterday as Ranks Hovis McDougall, the owner, attracted a second takeover offer - from Tomkins, the industrial conglomerate which owns Smith & Wesson guns.

Tomkins is offering pounds 926m for RHM, comfortably exceeeding a pounds 780m bid launched by Hanson, the Imperial Tobacco conglomerate, earlier this month. RHM's directors, who are bitterly opposing the Hanson bid, have recommended that shareholders accept the Tomkins offer.

The takeover battle pits Lord Hanson, one of Britain's most feared corporate predators, against one of his proteges. Greg Hutchings left Hanson in 1983 to build Tomkins from a tiny engineering outfit to an empire worth about pounds 1.75bn.

Hanson has not yet ruled out a counter-bid, and said yesterday it was 'considering its position'. The City hoped that meant it would raise its offer and sent shares in RHM, which also makes Mothers Pride and Hovis bread, soaring 21.5p to 273p, almost 3p above Tomkins' offer price.

Hanson trumped, page 22

View from City Road, page 25