Jurys accepts bid in part

THE battle for control of Jurys Doyle moved up a notch last night when the company’s board said it would sell to Precinct on the basis of a 50.1% acceptance of the offer by shareholders.

However the statement implied that Precinct may still have to live with a 30% minority stake in the business being held by the Doyle and Beatty families.

Last night the takeover panel announced a three-week extension to allow Precinct make a full bid for the hotel chain.

On Thursday it upped its bid from €1.04bn to €1.1bn for the hotel group, which has a chain of 33 hotels spread across Ireland, Britain and the US.

Shares in the hotel chain rose over 5% yesterday and were up 80 cents at €16.40, following the improved offer of €17.50 per share from Precinct.

Precinct is led by property developer Bryan Cullen, who took over the Gresham Hotel Group last year.

Its offer is the fourth since the group’s initial offer of €15.25 per share.

That was subsequently increased to €16.25 and then to €16.50, but the Jurys Doyle board remained impassive to the offers.

One of the key difficulties that faced Precinct is the 30% equity stake held in the group by the daughters of the late PV Doyle and Beatty families.

Last night’s statement from the Jurys Board suggests the board is split and that it is the Doyle and Beatty families who are unhappy with the bid.

They can still vote against the sale if the Precinct offer is put to shareholders.

For the other directors however Thursday night’s bid fully took on board the higher valuation of the Ballsbridge site, sold that day for €260m to property developer, Sean Dunne.

Analysts thought the €16.50 figure was a reasonably good price, given that before the initial bid in early May Jurys shares were trading at around €12.

Precinct highlighted that its offer of €17.50 per share was about 40% above the shares’ value prior to the bid. It also said the warning by Jurys in its trading statement that its Dublin hotels were trading badly offered shareholders a good exit strategy from the group.

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