Wincanton, the warehouse and logistics giant, could be a possible bidder for haulage company Eddie Stobart, having already started to look through Eddie Stobart’s books. The company has until November 15 at 5pm to make an offer or walk away – what is known as a “put up or shut up” deadline.
The deal comes less than a week after Andrew Tinkler, former boss of Stobart Group which spun off Eddie Stobart in 2014, said he was no longer interested in a bid for the business.
The board of Wincanton said it is “currently undertaking a diligence exercise on Eddie Stobart and its assets, in order to enable it to assess the potential merits of a combination. No proposal has been made by Wincanton to Eddie Stobart as to the terms of any potential offer, and there can be no certainty that any offer will be made to Eddie Stobart shareholders.”
In response, Eddie Stobart, which has seen its shares suspended since August over a £2 million accounting black hole, confirmed it has given access to Wincanton to carry out research. The approach heaps pressure on to Isle of Man-based DBAY Advisors, which is already a 10% shareholder in Eddie Stobart.
DBAY first made an approach for the haulage firm in September and was set its own deadline for a bid – however, this was subsequently extended twice and bosses have until October 28 at 5pm to make a decision.
Wincanton has more than 200 warehouses across the UK and Ireland and 3,600 vehicles, and it reported a 6.3% rise in pre-tax profit to £49.3 million for the year to the end of March, despite sales slipping 2.6% to £1.14 billion.