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What is going to happen to Ipswich's easyHotel?

PUBLISHED: 14:37 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:37 05 August 2019

easyHotel, in Ipswich town centre. Photo: Rachel Edge.

easyHotel, in Ipswich town centre. Photo: Rachel Edge.

Archant

The founder of easyHotel is fiercely battling against an approaching takeover bid despite the company's board giving it the green light.

easyHotel in Ipswich town centre the new 'super budget' hoteleasyHotel in Ipswich town centre the new 'super budget' hotel

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is urging shareholders to follow his lead and reject the offer from ICAMAP and Ivanhoe Cambridge.

Through his easyGroup investment firm, Sir Stelios still owns 27% of the 'super-budget' hotel chain.

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And he said he would be rejecting the offer from Luxembourg investment group ICAMAP and Canadian pension fund Ivanhoe Cambridge which values the firm at £138.7m.

easyHotel in Ipswich town centre the new 'super budget' hoteleasyHotel in Ipswich town centre the new 'super budget' hotel

The companies, which already own 38.7% and 35% of the firm respectively, have made a 95p-a-share offer for easyHotel.

Sir Stelios said: "I find the offer from ICAMAP to be very low and I urge all other shareholders to take no action (ie not accept the ICAMAP offer) until the true value and future potential of easyHotel can be evaluated.

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"It should be noted ICAMAP themselves paid 110p (per share) only 18 months ago and the stock has been as high as 128p just 15 months ago."

The group currently operates 38 hotels across 10 countries and opened a new hotel in Northgate Street, Ipswich, in January.

However, as the proposed deal revolves around further expanding the company across Europe it is not expected to have any negative repercussions for the Suffolk site.

easyHotel in Ipswich town centre the new 'super budget' hoteleasyHotel in Ipswich town centre the new 'super budget' hotel

In May, easyHotel revealed that sales jumped 25.3% to £20.2m in the six months to March 31.

One of those supporting the offer is easyHotel chairman Jonathan Lane, who believes the offer is "fair and reasonable".

He added: "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."

easyHotel in Ipswich town centre the new 'super budget' hoteleasyHotel in Ipswich town centre the new 'super budget' hotel

Harm Meijer, founding partner and managing director of ICAMAP, 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."

Investors seemed impressed with the offer, and shares quickly jumped to 95p - the offer price - in early trading on Monday.

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