M&C Hotels agrees to sweetened bid from CDL valuing it at £2b

M&C Hotels agrees to sweetened bid from CDL valuing it at £2b. PHOTO: CITY DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED

LONDON (REUTERS) - Millennium & Copthorne Hotels has agreed to a sweetened takeover offer from its majority shareholder that values the London-listed company at about 2 billion pounds (S$3.63 billion) after an earlier bid was heavily criticised by minority investors.

City Developments Limited (CDL), a vehicle of Singaporean billionaire Kwek Leng Beng, who is also chairman of M&C, has offered 620 pence per share in cash to acquire the 34.8 per cent of the FTSE 250 hotelier that it does not already own, the companies said in a statement on Friday.

The offer, which was declared final, has been recommended by M&C's independent directors. It was announced 75 minutes before a Takeover Panel deadline for CDL to make a firm offer or walk away.

CDL's earlier 552.5 pence per share cash proposal, disclosed to the stock market on Oct 9, ran into opposition from some of M&C's smaller shareholders, who argued that it put too low a price on the business because it did not reflect the value of its extensive property portfolio.

M&C owns, runs, invests in or franchises 137 hotels around the world.

Opponents of the earlier bid, which included MSD Partners, the firm that manages the family wealth of IT entrepreneur Michael Dell, called on CDL in October to raise its offer and criticised M&C's independent directors for saying they would recommend the proposal.

A source close to some of the minority investors said the improved offer still "materially" undervalues the company.

Deutsche Bank and HSBC are advising CDL and Credit Suisse is working with M&C's independent directors.

M&C shares rose 6 per cent on news of the bid to close at 613.5 pence.

The revised offer caps a busy week of takeover activity for British companies, particularly in the leisure sector.

Cineworld agreed a US$3.6 billion reverse takeover of US cinema business Regal Entertainment while online gambling company GVC also disclosed it was holding in-depth talks about a potential 3.9 billion-pound acquisition of bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral.

In the UK property sector, shopping centres owner Hammerson announced a 3.4 billion-pound acquisition of rival Intu Properties.

A spokesman for M&C investors who were among the opponents of a deal declined to comment.

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