£400m bid for car retail giant hanging in the balance

Nottingham-headquartered car retailer Pendragon is ostensibly on the verge of being acquired by its largest shareholder for around £400m – but says there is “no certainty” a firm offer will be made after it issued a fresh “put-up-or-shut-up” deadline.

Yesterday (20 November), the Telegraph reported that the Evans Halshaw and Stratstone owner would recommend its shareholders accept Swedish automotive giant Hedin’s offer of 29p per share for the company – a bid Pendragon described as “unsolicited” in September.

The publication also said Pendragon would seek an extension to the 21 November deadline it had set for the Swedish firm to make a concrete offer or withdraw from the transaction.

In a statement this morning (21 November), Pendragon confirmed it had requested the PUSU deadline be extended to 5pm on 9 December in order to “finalise the necessary transaction documentation” and allow time for Hedin Group to finalise its necessary due diligence, which is now “substantially complete.”

However, Pendragon’s statement today gives no indication of an imminent recommendation to shareholders, and the deal with Hedin “could yet be gatecrashed” according to The Telegraph.

The paper names Constellation Automotive as a potential rival bidder.

Pendragon said a further announcement would be made “in due course.”

Hedin, which operates more than 200 showrooms across Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, initially tabled the bid earlier this year after its previous offer of 28p per share was blocked by Pendragon’s board.

Last year, Hedin – which already owns 26% of Pendragon – called the retailer’s chief executive Bill Berman “out of tune.”

The news comes around a month after Pendragon was hit by a major cyber-attack which saw hackers hold the company to ransom for £53m.

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