Lord Rothermere increases offer to buy Daily Mail group after investor backlash

The chairman of the Daily Mail & General Trust said the 270p-a-share offer is final, having increased the price twice in recent months.

Simon Neville
Thursday 02 December 2021 16:34
DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere has increased his offer to take the business private (Jonathan Brady/PA)
DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere has increased his offer to take the business private (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Newspaper tycoon Lord Rothermere has increased his offer to take the group behind the Daily Mail private for a second time following a backlash from shareholders.

The businessman had previously offered investors in Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) 251p a share, but raised it to 255p last month.

On Thursday, he raised it further still to 270p a share, or £871 million, after investors said the previous offers were underwhelming.

He also reduced the acceptance rate for the deal from 90% of shareholders to 50%. The company said 41.8% of shareholders have so far accepted the offer.

DMGT said non-conflicted directors have unanimously accepted the increased offer which the company said is “final”.

Shareholders now have until 1pm on December 16 to accept the deal.

Daily Mail & General Trust chairman Lord Rothermere has increased his offer for the group (Iain Crockart/DMGT/PA)

Last month, JO Hambro Capital Management, which manages 3.3% and acts as adviser over a further 2.6% of DMGT shares, said “we are not currently minded to accept the offer on its current terms”.

It said at the time it was “underwhelmed and unconvinced”, adding: “We would also highlight to our fellow investors the clear inconsistencies in the narrative in the offer documentation.”

Majedie Asset Management, another investor with a 4.5% stake, said on Thursday that Lord Rothermere’s new offer was not generous enough and urged shareholders not to accept it.

The DMGT plans have been in place for several months and had a string of conditions attached, including the successful listing of online car dealership Cazoo on the New York Stock Exchange and the sale of its RMS business.

As well as the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday the group also owns Metro newspapers and recently acquired The i newspaper and New Scientist.

The business recently revealed that increases in the cost of newsprint are now at levels not seen for 25 years.

As a result, it said: “DMGT is currently exploring a number of options to mitigate the impact of these cost increases, including a review of employee numbers.”

The company added: “There have been recent substantial increases in distribution and energy costs, as well as increases in the cost of newsprint at levels not seen since 1996, and these have started to impact the profitability of the newspaper businesses.”

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