Lord Rothermere has succeeded in his attempt to delist the publisher of the Daily Mail from the stock market after the great grandson of the newspaper’s founder won enough shareholder support for his takeover bid despite opposition from some prominent investors.
Daily Mail and General Trust said that as of 5pm on Wednesday, 63 per cent of shareholder votes were in support of an offer made via a family investment vehicle of Jonathan Harmsworth, Viscount Rothermere.
About half of the votes came from the family. Harmsworth needed to pass a threshold of 50 per cent by 1pm on Thursday to get the deal over the line.
He is taking the company private at a time of upheaval at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers and MailOnline website, its best-known assets.
Among a series of management changes in recent weeks, Geordie Greig was removed as editor of the daily newspaper and his predecessor Paul Dacre installed as editor-in-chief of the wider group’s portfolio of consumer publications.
The takeover bid, which followed an extensive restructuring of DMGT that has left it focused on consumer media, has also been contentious.
As well as complaining the offer price was too low, some investors have been critical of the process that allowed the Rothermeres, DMGT’s controlling shareholders, to buy all the shares they do not already own. One institutional investor, Majedie, had called on independent directors to make public the information that led them to recommend the bid.
Investors who were unwilling to sell would have been offered illiquid shares in the private company, an unenticing prospect for many institutional fund managers. Even if they were prepared to accept that outcome, the result of the vote means the Rothermeres will acquire all the shares.
The positive result for the Rothermeres comes after the family this month increased its bid by £35m in an attempt to secure shareholder support, raising it to 270p a share. Excluding dividends, the offer gave DMGT, whose publications also include Metro and the i, an enterprise value of £885m at the time it was made.
Shareholders will be in line for a special dividend, comprising 568p a share in cash and an equity interest in Cazoo, the recently listed online car retailer.