Steinhoff raises Poundland offer after hedge fund increases stake

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LONDON (Reuters) – South Africa’s Steinhoff has improved the terms of its agreed takeover of British discount retailer Poundland, saying its 610.4 million pound ($794.6 million) offer is final.

The increased offer follows a recent move by U.S. hedge fund Elliott to up its stake in Poundland to 17.5 percent, making it the firm’s second largest investor after Steinhoff.

Elliott has a track record of getting bidders to increase their offers. It was among activist investors that last month helped secure an improved offer from Anheuser-Busch InBev for rival brewer SABMiller.

Steinhoff said it is now offering 227 pence in cash for each Poundland share, comprising an offer price of 225 pence and a final dividend of 2 pence.

The revised offer price represents an increase of 5 pence per share over the 220 pence offer announced on July 13, which together with the dividend valued the British firm at 597 million pounds.

“The 5 pence rise in the Steinhoff bid for Poundland is a pretty modest victory for shareholder activism,” said independent retail analyst Nick Bubb.

All other terms and conditions of Steinhoff’s offer remain unchanged from last month’s deal.

Steinhoff said its revised offer is final and will not be increased.

“By offering Poundland shareholders an improved cash offer we aim to bring certainty to the transaction recognising the strength and value of the business and its management team,” Steinhoff Chief Executive Markus Jooste said.

Steinhoff owns the Bensons Beds and Harvey’s furniture chains in Britain. The Poundland deal should be third time lucky after it failed to secure Britain’s Home Retail, which owns Argos, and was also unsuccessful in a bid for Darty in France.

Poundland shares were down 1.5 percent at 221 pence at 07.21 GMT.

($1 = 0.7689 pounds)


(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Paul Sandle and Jason Neely)

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