Key shareholders battle for control of Eddie Stobart

Key shareholders battle for control of Eddie Stobart

Eddie Stobart Logistics plc (Eddie Stobart) the AIM 100 transport company, received a possible offer from private equity house DBAY Advisors Limited (DBAY) on 9 September 2019. DBAY, which currently owns around 10% of the company’s shares, has until 7 October to announce whether it will make a firm offer or not.

Last month, Eddie Stobart announced that it was delaying the publication of its first-half results and issued a profit warning. The company then revealed a £2 million error in its 2018 results and  announced that CEO Alex Laffey had left with immediate effect. The company suspended trading of its shares until further notice and auditors PWC are currently carrying out an internal audit.

Eddie Stobart was spun out of the Stobart Group (which recently exited the FTSE 250), in a deal that saw DBAY Advisors take a 51% stake in Eddie Stobart before it floated on AIM in 2017. When the company floated in 2017, the size of the deal was £392 million, the largest AIM IPO in the last five years with shares priced at 160p. When trading was suspended last month, shares had dipped dramatically to 71p. The company has announced that it is taking measures to improve its financial situation, including scrapping its final dividend.

On 18 September 2019, Eddie Stobart received a competing possible offer from TVFC (3) Limited, a company completely owned by Andrew Tinkler (who controls 10% of Eddie Stobart). TVFC has until 16 October to make a firm offer.

Andrew Tinkler was the CEO of Stobart Group plc when he was locked down in a lengthy legal battle which ended three months ago. It focused on a power struggle between Mr Tinkler and chairman Iain Ferguson, with Mr Tinkler wishing to place the billionaire Philip Day in Mr Ferguson’s place. The court eventually found Mr Tinkler had breached his fiduciary duties and had been lawfully dismissed, but that he had not engaged in any other wrongdoing alleged by Stobart Group plc.

A takeover would assist Eddie Stobart’s largest investor, fund manager Neil Woodford, (who has a 23% shareholding), by providing him with a much-needed lifeline following the freezing of his Equity Income Fund in June to prevent investors from withdrawing their money from the fund.

Market Tracker will continue to track this news story as it develops. 

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