Shareholder opposition mounts to Lees Foods price-tag

Shareholder opposition mounts to Lees Foods price-tag

A group of minority shareholders in Lees Foods have reportedly approached the UK's Takeover Panel as its attempt to block a proposed GBP5.6m (US$8.9m) management-buyout continues apace.

According to reports, shareholder group ShareSoc has suggested fees offered to the broker recommending deal, Shore Capital, compromise the advisory firm's  impartial status. It is understood  Shore Capital will receive a higher fee if management's 230 pence-per-share offer is accepted.

The offer price represents a 12.5% premium on the weighted average closing price for Lees Foods shares over the past six months and a 2.7% premium of the closing price of 224 pence on 5 April, the last trading day before the takeover bid was launched.

However, shares in Lees Foods are currently trading at 229.4 pence per share and ShareSoc has suggested an offer in excess of 300 pence a share would be more appropriate.

ShareSoc could not be reached for immediate comment. The Takeover Panel said it does not comment on individual cases that are referred to it.

A source close to the management buy-out team told just-food that the 230 pence offer is "the offer that is on the table so obviously it is considered to be fair."

The source emphasised the opposition is from a "minority group of shareholders" and added that "the union have come out in support of the takeover as well."

The Lees buy-out team includes chief executive Clive Miquel and directors David Simon, Nadia Miller, Albert Croll and Klaus Perch-Nielsen, who collectively own around 48% of the Scottish cake maker.