Forth Ports received a conditional takeover offer from its largest shareholder that values the UK's only listed port operator at $1.2 billion.
The company, which owns seven UK ports including Scotland's biggest container port Clydeport, has given Arcus Capital access to its books to carry out due diligence. Arcus, which has a 22.8 percent stake in Forth, is offering $26.57 per share in addition to a final dividend for 2010 of 33 cents per share.
"On the basis of this indicative proposal, the board agreed that Arcus can undertake certain confirmatory due diligence," Edinburgh, Scotland-based Forth Ports said in a statement.
Forth Ports news from JOC:
Forth Ports 2010 Container Volume Falls 7 Percent
Forth, which also owns the port of Tilbury, near London, rebuffed an improved $1 billion approach last May from the Northstream consortium of investors, which included Arcus. The consortium, which also included Deutsche Bank's RREEF Infrastructure and the UK's Peel Group, pulled its bid saying it couldn't justify a higher price because of uncertainty over the value of Forth Ports' real estate assets.
Forth is the UK's last remaining independent ports operator following a spate of takeovers, mainly by foreign groups, in 2005 and 2006. Dubai's DP World acquired P&O Ports; a Goldman Sachs-led consortium bought Associated British Ports, the country's largest port operator; Canada's Brookfield Asset Management owns the second largest operator, PD Ports; Hong Kong's Hutchison Ports owns Felixstowe, the UK's largest container port, and a fund managed by Germany's Deutsche Bank, owns 49 percent of the operator of the port of Liverpool.
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