Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has urged his fellow shareholders not to accept a £138.7m takeover bid for EasyHotel “until the true value and future potential” of the company can be evaluated.
Directors of the budget hotel chain have agreed terms for the takeover with real estate-backed consortium Bidco, however Sir Stelios, who holds a 27% shareholding in EasyHotel via his the EasyGroup investment company, has said he found the offer to be “very low”.
Bidco is a newly incorporated company owned by a consortium of Cadim Fonds, part of Canadian real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge, and real estate firm ICAMAP, which has been a shareholder since 2016.
Jonathan Lane, chairman of EasyHotel, said: “The independent EasyHotel directors consider that the offer is fair and reasonable and in the best interests of shareholders, the company, its employees and wider stakeholders. Liquidity in EasyHotel stock has been limited since the company was admitted to AIM five years ago. If accepted, the offer should enable the EasyHotel group to accelerate its expansion into major European cities where it sees significant opportunity, underpinning the long-term growth and prosperity of the EasyHotel brand.”
Karim Habra, head of Europe for Ivanhoé Cambridge, said: “Alongside our partner, we intend to support the company’s growth and expansion across Europe. This investment aligns with our objectives to diversify in new strategies by seeking value-creation opportunities.”
Harm Meijer, managing director of ICAMAP Advisory, said: “We continue to believe in the long-term strategy of the business. However, we also believe that the company needs a change in its shareholder base in order for EasyHotel to become a true leading pan-European budget hotel player. In our view, Ivanhoé Cambridge and ICAMAP are ideally positioned to provide the capital and stewardship the company needs.
“We are open-minded about whether EasyHotel remains a publicly traded company or becomes private. In either case, we believe that the change of ownership which our offer will deliver is essential to enable EasyHotel to navigate the current market uncertainty and to thrive in the future.”
EasyHotel is one of the spin-off brands from Sir Stelios’ EasyGroup, best known for its budget airline EasyJet. The brand was launched in 2005 with its first property, a 34-bedroom hotel in London’s Kensington.