Mystery bidder that tried to buy Pendragon named as US dealer group Lithia Motors but deal blocked by Hedin Group

  • US dealer group Lithia Motors failed in a recent attempt to buy Pendragon
  • Reported £460m takeover deal was halted when Hedin Group refused to join talks
  • The group, Pendragon’s largest shareholder, failed in its own takeover bid earlier this year

Time 7:00 am, August 13, 2022

The mystery buyer which failed in a bid to takeover Pendragon last week has been named as US dealer group Lithia Motors.

Car Dealer reported last Friday (August 5) that the Car Dealer Top 100 group had rejected a takeover after one of its largest shareholders refused to join talks.

It can now be revealed that the takeover attempt came from American giant Lithia Motors, which has a market value of over $7bn (£5.8bn).

Sky News reports that the firm, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange,  was being advised on its interest by investment bank, Goldman Sachs.

It can also be revealed that the party which refused to entertain negotiations was Hedin Group, Pendragon’s largest shareholder.

Hedin Group, and its owner Anders Hedin already own 53 per cent of Pendragon and failed in its own takeover bid earlier in the year.

Lithia Motors valued Pendragon at around £460m – or 29p per share – compared to the 28p per share offered during Hedin Group’s takeover attempt.

As neither offer was successful, Pendragon will now continue under its existing ownership structure.

Hedin Group has been a vocal critic of the dealer group’s management team in recent times, especially chief executive, Bill Berman.

The CEO clung on to his job following a shareholders revolt over bonuses earlier this year, but Mike Wright, who chaired Pendragon’s remuneration committee, was forced to stand down.

Last month, the dealer group said it expected its first-half pre-tax profit to be down by more than £2m on last year.

It forecast an underlying profit before tax of circa £33m, versus £35.1m for the same period last year.

In a statement last week, Pendragon said: ‘The company continues to expect to deliver group underlying profit before tax in line with board expectations.

‘The board has full confidence in the company’s strategy and in management to continue to deliver significant value for all stakeholders.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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