Jurys Doyle firmly reject takeover offer

Brian O’Mahony, Chief Business Correspondent

The board said, the country’s largest hotel chain turned down the offer as it failed to reflect the value of Jurys Doyle and its prospects.

Last night the board of Precinct said it noted the Jurys statement and said they were “considering their response”.

Precinct is the consortium which includes property developer Brian Cullen, solicitor David Coleman and Wexford-based builder JJ Murphy.

Shares in Jurys Doyle, who operate 30 hotels in Ireland, Britain and the US, were up 27cent to 14.90 in Dublin yesterday.

Stuart Draper, head of research at Dolmen Butler Briscoe, said the share price rising was a good sign that further bidding would follow.

It was possible that the three Doyle sisters, who own 25% of Jurys Doyle and others close to them, including Tom Roche of NTR Plc, could well make a move independently to take the group private. Combined, the Doyle family and relatives are worth 750 million and could without difficulty raise a counter bid.

Precinct’s bid values the company at E960 million.

It made a number of moves before it finally succeeded in acquiring the Gresham chain for E120 million, Mr Draper said.

Other potential bidders include Treasury Holdings.

Last week Jurys Doyle issued a statement distancing the Doyle family from the initial approach for the group, speculated to be worth E1 billion.

“The board of Jurys Doyle has been informed by the directors of the company connected with the Doyle and Beatty family interests in the company that neither they nor their family interests are connected with or have given their support to the unsolicited approach, which has been made to the company”, the group said.

Mr Draper said that looking at the sums, it is conceivable that the Doyle sisters and the former chairman Walter Beatty, who between them have 32% of the equity in the company, could with Mr Roche and others easily mount a counter offer.

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