Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hunter Considering Rival Bid for Dobbies

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hunter Considering Rival Bid for Dobbies

Article excerpt

Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter was said to be looking at forming a consortium to launch a rival bid for the Dobbies garden centre chain after it received a takeover approach from Tesco last week.

Sir Tom, who owns more than 10% of the Midlothian-based business through his West Coast Capital investment vehicle, is understood to be in talks with Icelandic investment group Baugur about joining forces to launch a counter-offer to Tesco's pounds 155m bid. Another super- market, such as Sainsbury's or Waitrose, could also be brought into the consortium, according to reports. Tesco shocked the City last Friday when it tabled a pounds 15-a-share offer for Dobbies.

If it acquires the Dobbies chain, which has 21 stores focused on Scotland and northern England, Tesco would aim to use the stores to capitalise on the current boom in gardening and related demand for "green" products, such as composting kits and water butts.

Tesco has pledged to maintain the Dobbies brand, which dates back to 1865, and run the business along existing lines. …

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