Lord Rothermere in bid to take Daily Mail newspaper group private

Lord Rothermere is considering a bid to make the owner of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro newspapers private in a deal worth £810 million.

The newspapers are currently part of the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), listed on the stock market since 1932.

But if the sale of its insurance risk division and a 16% stake of Cazoo is distributed to shareholders following the car business’s listing in the US, the great-grandson of the newspaper’s founder intends to make a bid to de-list it.

Lord Rothermere
Lord Rothermere, the largest shareholder of DMGT and executive chairman, is considering taking the group private (Iain Crockart / DMGT / PA)

Lord Rothermere is already the controlling shareholder of DMGT via his family’s business, but a deal to turn it private would see it leave the stock market.

DMGT confirmed it was in discussions to sell its insurance risk division following approaches from interested parties, with proceeds from the sale of 610p per share via a special dividend.

The insurance division could be sold in the next few months and follows the disposals in recent years of Hobsons, Genscape and Zoopla, which collectively raised £1.2 billion. DMGT also offloaded a 50% stake in Euromoney.

The company would also hold a 16% stake in Cazoo which plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange.

If both insurance and Cazoo plans are completed, Lord Rothermere’s company, Rothermere Continuation Limited (RCL), would be prepared to make a 251p-per-share cash offer to take the remainder of DMGT private, the company revealed.

DMGT said: “The possible offer implies an enterprise value of £810 million (with DMGT assuming debt with a fair value of approximately £230 million) for all of the trading and investment businesses of DMGT, excluding RMS (the insurance business), the Cazoo shares and the cash subject to the Special Dividend.”

It added: “The independent DMGT directors have indicated … they would be minded to recommend the Possible Offer to DMGT’s shareholders”.

Lord Rothermere now has until August 9 to make a formal offer or confirm no deal will be made, under stock market rules.