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Hunter to stay in the background - in the interests of the shareholders

Published: 9 August 2007
Sir Tom Hunter has said he is not going to bid for Dobbies, however he is to remain a minority shareholder looking forward to Tesco's plans to grow the business.
Hunter to stay in the background - in the interests of the shareholders
The Scottish entrepreneur's investment vehicle West Coast Capital (Lios) (WCC Lios) said in a statement it will not counter bid, and it will not sell its 26% shareholding as the offer does not 'reflect the long term value potential of Dobbies'.

The board of WCC Lios attacked the bidding process saying it lacked a competitive framework to attract other potential bidders for the benefit of shareholders.

It went to say it expects the Dobbies board to ensure that the business is run 'in the interests of the company and shareholders as a whole'.

"As a significant minority shareholder, the board of WCC Lios looks forward to participating in this potential upside together with other shareholders who wish to remain investors in Dobbies," WCC Lios said.

Irritation

Sir Tom Hunter's move creates something of an irritation for Tesco as it could have a minority investor in a Tesco-owned Dobbies where the supermarket chain would be unable to delist from the stock market.

Tesco has already had to extend its offer period twice because of a lack of takers for its 1500p offer, and has also had to urge Dobbies shareholders to accept the offer.

Tesco now needs to gain control of 50% of shares by August 19 or the offer will lapse.

A spokesman for Tesco has since said it would take management control once it had backing from 50%. However, only 32.6% have agreed.

WCC cannot bid for six months, but has reserved to right to bid before the deadline under certain conditions.

Since the announcement of the Tesco Offer, WCC Lios has increased its holding of Dobbies shares to 26.02% and paid a premium of 23% to the offer price.

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