Swedish group makes £400m bid for UK car sales giant

The GBP3.4 billion turnover group behind car dealers Evans Halshaw and Stratstone has received a new takeover offer. Nottingham-based Pendragon said it had received the cash offer from the Swedish vehicle retailer the Hedin Mobility Group AB. Shares in Pendragon were up 20 per cent this morning on the news at 27.4p.

Hedin said it was prepared to pay 29p a share for the business, valuing it at more than GBP400 million. In an announcement to the markets, Pendragon said the unsolicited and "highly conditional" offer was made last Wednesday. It said: "There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any firm offer might be made.

A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate." The announcement said that, in line with market rules, Hedin Group would be required to confirm its offer by end of play on October 24. It comes months after an earlier offer from an "international corporate" to buy the group with a similar GBP400 million price tag came to nothing.

Pendragon brands include Evans Halshaw - which has 100 sites - prestige dealership Stratstone; the online CarStore business; fleet and contract hire business Pendragon Vehicle Management; car parts distributor Quickco and software company Pinewood Technologies. Pendragon sold just over 46,000 used cars in the UK in the first six months of this year, and almost 24,700 new cars. That was down on the 53,900 and 30,000 (respectively) it sold in the first half of 2021.

Total group revenues for the six months were GBP1.8 billion, 1.6 per cent up on a year earlier. Underlying pre-tax profit was GBP33.5 million, down 4.6 per cent. Hedin has been growing its operations across Europe in recent months, buying Toyota and Mercedes dealerships in Belgium, and expanding in Switzerland where it is now the second biggest BMW and Mini dealership.

It has also launched a new Swedish truck sales business and just struck a deal with Hongqi to be the official importer and seller of the Chinese luxury car marque's electric cars.

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