Takeover battle for easyHotel steps up a gear
PUBLISHED: 10:23 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:23 16 August 2019
The investment group vying to take control of easyHotel has upped its stake in the chain.
Luxembourg-based ICAMAP has agreed to acquire almost eight million additional shares at 95p each, taking its total holding from 38.65% to 44.09%.
The bold move makes the group's offer, for which it has teamed up with Canadian pension fund Ivanhoe Cambridge, mandatory instead of conditional.
The companies only need another 6% to take full control.
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However, they face opposition from the company's founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who has said the offer undervalues the business.
The offer values the group, which has 38 hotels in 10 countries, at £138.7 million.
Sir Stelios, who owns 27% of easyHotel through his company easyGroup, said it was "very low" and urged investors to take no action.
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The 'super budget' chain opened its Ipswich branch in Northgate Street at the beginning of the year and the hotel continues to go from strength to strength.
Any takeover deal is unlikely to negatively impact the Suffolk site as the main drive behind the move is further expansion throughout Europe.
The board of easyHotel previously said the offer would allow it to expand to new cities.
Commenting on Thursday's updated offer, easyHotel chairman Jonathan Lane said: "The independent easyHotel directors consider that the updated offer is fair and reasonable and in the best interests of shareholders, the company, its employees and wider stakeholders."
An offer document will be sent out to shareholders in due course, setting out a timetable for the proposed takeover.
In May, easyHotel revealed that sales jumped 25.3% to £20.2 million in the six months to March 31. But it slumped to a £124,000 pre-tax loss in the period due to the temporary closure of its hotel in London's Old Street, and depreciation.
Founded in 2004, easyHotel has 11 owned hotels with 1,200 rooms, and 25 franchised hotels with about 2,100 rooms.
Bosses had previously said they plan to open five new hotels by the end of the year and nine more by 2020, at a cost of £49 million.