British logistics giant Wincanton has entered the race to buy iconic U.K. trucking firm Eddie Stobart.
Although no formal offer has been made by Wincanton, it said in a statement it was “undertaking a diligence exercise on Eddie Stobart and its assets.”
No value has been put on the potential deal and a spokesperson for Wincanton was unable to provide any further details when contacted by FreightWaves.
Wincanton now has until 5:00 p.m. on 15 November to make a bid.
In a separate statement, Eddie Stobart confirmed it had granted its competitor “due diligence access” ahead of a possible merger.
“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,” said the statement.
Eddie Stobart, which operates about 2,500 trucks, is named after its Cumbrian founder and is famed for its iconic green and red truck branding.
Any deal to buy the company will need to be voted on by its embattled shareholders. As reported in FreightWaves, in August the haulage company announced its CEO Alex Laffey had quit after accounting errors were found in its earnings estimates.
Shares in AIM-listed Eddie Stobart were subsequently suspended in September and the company warned that its annual results would be “significantly below” expectations after a poor first half of the year.
DBAY Advisors, which already holds a 10% stake, is another potential buyer after making a “preliminary expression of interest” in the firm in early September. The company now has until 5:00 p.m. on October 28 to signal its intentions.
“Discussions with DBAY regarding a possible offer for the company remain ongoing,” said an Eddie Stobart statement.
However, TVFB, headed by Andrew Tinkler, former boss of Stobart Group, informed the London Stock Exchange earlier this week it had made a “No Intention to Bid Statement.”
TVFB had been given a “put up or shut up” (PUSU) deadline of 5:00 p.m., October 16 to make a move.
Until 2014 Eddie Stobart was part of Stobart Group, now its biggest shareholder with an 11.8% stake.
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