GPG moves in on De Vere Group

26 March 2004 by
GPG moves in on De Vere Group

The long-mooted sell-off of De Vere Hotels moved a step closer this week, with shareholder activist GPG making a £118m partial offer for the group.

GPG, a subsidiary of investment company Guinness Peat Group, has made an offer to buy about 25% of De Vere Group's shares, which would take its total holding to 35%.

The company said if its offer for the hotel company was successful, it would look to sell off the group's 21 De Vere branded properties, which are valued at about £551m, and return a substantial amount of the proceeds to shareholders.

Chairman Blake Nixon said: "A restructuring of the De Vere Group is long overdue. Following the failure of the De Vere board to take any substantive action to improve shareholder value, the partial offer will enable GPG to initiate the implementation of plans for a prompt realisation of the value we believe to be inherent in the De Vere Hotels division."

If the offer is successful, Nixon and Mark Butcher, investment manager at GPG, will seek appointment to the De Vere board to "initiate a more dynamic strategy".

De Vere Group said it noted the "unsolicited and unwelcome" offer and said it significantly undervalued the company. The group urged its shareholders to take no action.

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