UK’s biggest haulier eyeing up takeover bid for Eddie Stobart

Eddie Stobart

One of the UK’s largest haulage firms is considering a takeover bid for Warrington based Eddie Stobart.

Wincanton – which has its headquarters in Wiltshire – announced this morning it is carrying out a due diligence exercise at the firm.

It is unclear at the moment if the distinctive green markings of the haulier will disappear from the UK’s motorway network if a deal goes ahead.

Eddie Stobart has been in talks with its lenders and it is also facing an accounting crisis.

The company’s lenders have drafted in Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) to advise them on a potential restructuring of its £155m debts.

According to reports Eddie Stobart haa appointed Deloitte to work alongside Rothschild on discussions with its lenders.

The firm has been unable to publish financial results for several weeks amid investigations into accounting issues.

Wincanton announced its interest in Eddie Stobart in a Stock Market announcement this morning.

A statement on the Stock Market said: “Wincanton the largest British third-party logistics company, announces that it is currently undertaking a diligence exercise on Eddie Stobart and its assets, in order to enable it to assess the potential merits of a combination.

“No proposal has been made by Wincanton to Eddie Stobart as to the terms of any potential offer, and there can be no certainty that any offer will be made to Eddie Stobart shareholders.”

Eddie Stobart also issued a statement. It said: “The board of Eddie Stobart Logistics plc (“Eddie Stobart” or the “Company”) notes this morning’s statement from Wincanton PLC (“Wincanton”) and confirms it has granted due diligence access to Wincanton to assess the potential merits of a combination.

“No proposal has been made by Wincanton to Eddie Stobart as to the terms of any potential offer, and there can be no certainty that any offer will be made to Eddie Stobart shareholders.

“A further announcement will be made when appropriate.”

The news comes in the same week that DBAY Advisors, its second-largest shareholder, was granted more time to make a firm takeover offer for the haulage company.

The UK takeover panel has given DBAY until October 28 either to make a buyout bid or walk away.

Eddie Stobart said last month it had received a “highly preliminary” expression of interest from TVFB Ltd, a firm controlled by Stobart Group’s former chief executive Andrew Tinkler.

Mr Tinkler has since walked away from the deal.

Until 2014 Eddie Stobart was part of the Stobart Group, now its biggest shareholder with an 11.8% stake. DBAY holds about 10.7%.

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