Quarto turned down takeover bid from US investor

Quarto turned down takeover bid from US investor

Quarto has confirmed it turned down an attempted takeover by US investor Richard Hurowitz, reported to value the company at £90m, last year.

According to the Financial Times, The Octavian Report journal publisher Hurowitz had launched several takeover attempts but was turned down. His first proposal came in late August 2019, valuing the company at 100p per share, the paper reported. The all-cash offer included the acquisition of c.e.o. C K Lau’s 34% stake and a $65m debt repayment.

When that was rejected, Hurowitz wrote again in October 2019 saying he wanted to extend the offer but was again rebuffed.

Earlier this month, Quarto announced plans to reduce its bank debt with a £13.9m share offer, valuing shares at 68p. That offer, set to be approved on Friday (31st January), was underwritten by two shareholder groups, one representing Lau and the other representing Italian printers the Giunti family.

Quarto said the share offer was an attempt to "invigorate the group's balance sheet and reduce the group's reliance on bank debt". It said that, as of 30th November 2019, the group owed $54m to the bank and $13m in loans.

In a statement yesterday, chief administrative officer Michael Clarke addressed the "unsolicited preliminary enquiry" from Hurowitz’s firm Octavian Media LLC.

He said: "The board considered the proposal following its receipt and concluded that it was not in the best interests of the company or its stockholders, nor did the board believe it capable of being consummated.

"As documented in its announcement of 16th January 2020, Quarto needed to renegotiate its existing debt facilities prior to 31st March 2020, and hence following the board's rejection of the unsolicited preliminary proposal, it continued with its already well-developed plans to raise additional monies via an open offer to shareholders alongside the renegotiation of its debt facilities. The board has not received any further approaches from Octavian since October 2019."