Pyrrho Investments, the investment vehicle which made a counter-bid for Liberty, has countered claims made by the board of the department store in regard to their offer.
Pyrrho, a Hong-Kong based investment vehicle owned by Paul Cummins who also holds a 21% stake in Liberty’s owner MWB, today refuted Liberty’s claims in a stock exchange announcement, the fourth acrimonious exchange between the two since Friday.
On May 6, the board of Liberty recommended an offer for the business from BlueGem Capital Partners of 186p per share, valuing the business at £32m plus a £10m special dividend.
Pyrrho said today that its initial proposal, made on May 4, was not “highly conditional” as suggested by the Liberty board. It added that the initial proposal was subject to standard due diligence pre-conditions discussed with Pyrrho’s advisers Arbuthnot Securities and MWB’s advisers Panmure Gordon.
Pyrrho also added that the risk of BlueGem’s possible offer, recommended by Liberty on May 6, falling away was immaterial.
Pyrrho said that if Liberty had agreed to negotiate with Pyrrho, after it was found that its offer was only 1p per share less than BlueGem’s, the downside to Liberty shareholders would have amounted to £230,000 if BlueGem’s offer had fallen away.
Pyrrho added that its 185p per share offer was negotiable and that it was “surprised” that neither Liberty nor MWB sufficiently considered the offer. It stressed that the offer was open for acceptance until 5pm on May 7.
Pyrrho added that it was not told that a higher offer for the business existed and said Pyrrho “naturally assumed” it remained the highest bidder so did not raise its offer.
Pyrrho added: “Pyrrho cannot understand, in light of the incremental difference between Pyrrho’s unconditional offer of 185p and BlueGem’s revised offer of 186p being so small, why the Liberty board and its advisers did not invite competing potential acquirers to bid against each other in another competitive round in order to achieve a higher final offer price.”
Pyrrho reiterated its offer is at a higher aggregate price than that of BlueGem.
Pyrrho said: “Pyrrho believes that it remains in Liberty shareholders’ interests for the Liberty board to explore a possible offer from Pyrrho.”