Private equity firm bids £55m to take control of Eddie Stobart

Eddie Stobart has said that a major shareholder has made a £55 million bid to take majority ownership.

The trucking and logistics firm confirmed that Douglas Bay Capital Fund (DBAY) submitted the offer to “provide necessary liquidity” in exchange for a 51% stake.

Eddie Stobart said it was considering the proposal which would see its existing shareholders left with 49% ownership of the business.

DBAY previously owned a majority stake in the listed firm, holding a 51% stake until its public listing in 2017.

Figures for October revealed that the private equity group held an 11% stake in the Carlisle-based business.

The haulage business has been at the centre of acquisition interest for a number of months, with DBAY first making an approach for the company in September.

Subsequently, former Stobart Group boss Andrew Tinkler said he was interested in a bid for the business before walking away weeks after.

Logistics giant Wincanton was the most recent to emerge as a possible bidder for the company and still has until November 15 to make an offer or abandon the move.

Trading in Eddie Stobart shares was suspended in August over a £2 million black hole in its accounts.

The confirmation followed a Sky News report which said that investors could lose out as a result of the bid, which would reportedly involve an underwritten share issue.

Nevertheless, the company said there is no certainty that a deal will be confirmed on the back of the offer or that any other bid will be submitted.

It added that any agreed proposal would be subject to approval by the firm’s shareholders at a general meeting.