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QXL faces hostile takeover bid

By January 15, 2005No Comments

Dutch firm Florissant is to launch a £13.6m ($25.4m) hostile bid for UK online auction company QXL Ricardo after its takeover offer was rejected.

QXL’s independent directors said a 800p-per-share approach undervalued the company and the Dutch firm is now to put the offer directly to shareholders. The firm has come under threat from the increasing dominance of eBay, but it is battling its way back from losses amid increasing turnover, and its shares have risen in recent weeks.

Florissant is a cash shell, backed by UK-based private equity firm Novator. Its approach followed a move by Tiger Acquisition, a firm that includes QXL management, which had agreed to pay some 700p per share.

QXL, which has website operations in 10 European countries, has also rejected this offer.

In a statement, QXL’s independent directors said the company would consider disposing of some its operations to “maximise shareholder value”.
QXL director Thomas Power said other parties had expressed an interest in buying parts of the group, indicating the Florissant proposal was too low. Howevert, takeover regulations mean QXL’s independent directors are not permitted to talk to other potential interested parties until Tiger decides whether to raise or formally withdraw its offer.

Tiger said on Friday it was considering its position following the statements from QXL and Florissant.
“There is substantially more value inside QXL that the other offers are recognising and I think the market is starting to recognise that too,” Mr Power said.

Meanwhile, QXL is said to be continuing in its efforts through the civil courts to win back its Polish operation, which had been signed over to its managing director through the illegal issue of 92% of its shares. QXL shares were trading up 2.12% at 868 pence.

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