Pendragon £400m offer collapses after firm ‘unable to engage’ with shareholder

One of the UK’s biggest car dealerships has been forced to walk away from a bid greater than £400 million from an international suitor, despite the board showing interest.

Pendragon said that it had been forced to reject the bid after being unable to get hold of one its biggest shareholders.

The offer from an unnamed company was conditional on all five of Pendragon’s biggest shareholders backing the takeover.

Pendragon said it had managed to get the support of four of the five. But it could not get through to the fifth.

“The proposal was contingent on receipt of irrevocable commitments from all of Pendragon’s major shareholders,” a spokesman said.

He added: “The board of Pendragon concluded that the proposal merited engagement with its five largest shareholders and received strong support for the proposal from four of these shareholders who were willing to sign irrevocable commitments.

“However, Pendragon was unable to engage with one of these shareholders and, therefore, given this lack of certainty, the bidder has withdrawn its non-binding offer and both parties have terminated discussions.”

The bidder had said it would pay 29p per share in Pendragon. It would value the company at about £403 million.

In March, Sweden’s Hedin Group was linked to a potential takeover of the UK car dealership.

The group, and its owner Anders Hedin, already own 53% of Pendragon between them.

In March, Sky News reported that the shareholder had approached the board over a potential deal to buy the shares it does not own. But the board rejected this.

On Friday, Pendragon merely named the suitor as a “large international corporate”.

But the bidder is thought not to be Hedin.

Pendragon said that it expects to deliver underlying pre-tax profit of £33 million in the first half of the financial year.

“The robust performance was underpinned by continued delivery of the company’s strategy to unlock value in the franchised UK motor division, grow and diversify Pinewood and disrupt standalone used car retail,” the company said.