Jul 12, 2021

Rothermeres consider taking Daily Mail owner DMGT private

The Rothermeres are considering taking the owner of the Daily Mail newspaper private in a deal that would value the group at £810m. London-listed Daily Mail and General Trust, which spans news, events and data, said the holding company of executive chair Jonathan Harmsworth, the Viscount Rothermere, would consider a bid after receiving an approach for its insurance risk business. Pending that deal and the previously announced flotation of used car retailer Cazoo, in which it holds a 20 per cent stake, DMGT said the Rothermeres "Would be prepared to make a possible cash offer" to acquire the rest of the shares and take DMGT private. The Rothermeres own 36 per cent of DMGT, but Harmsworth - who inherited his role as the company's chair and controlling shareholder on the death of his father in 1998 - has owned all voting shares since 2013, meaning that any deal recommended to shareholders that has his backing will be approved. Shareholders would receive 251p for each share in addition to a special cash dividend of about 610p per share, giving the smaller company an enterprise value of £810m. While it is "Theoretically correct" that the dual-voting structure means that a take private deal could go through without the approval of minority shareholders, "This is a business that might want to bring companies back to the stock market at some point in the future and so won't necessarily want to totally burn its bridges ," the top-10 shareholder added. As with its peers, DMGT has struggled during the coronavirus pandemic as advertising suffered a severe hit.

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