08 October 2020 10:33
ONE of the City's takeover kings today launched a £1.1 billion bid for TalkTalk, the business co-founded by mobile phone magnate Sir Charles Dunstone. Toscafund, led by Martin Hughes--nicknamed "the Rottweiler"--has a habit of launching takeover bids for companies it feels are undervalued by the stock market and taking them private. Today's offer of 97p a share in cash for TalkTalk was well received by the board of the telecom company, which said it has "agreed to progress the proposal further". Sir Charles' 30% holding is valued at £330 million, but it is likely he will instead take a stake in the new unlisted company if the deal goes ahead. One banker said: "He is too smart to sell out at the bottom." The stock was well over 300p five years ago.
Today they jumped 14p to 97p, in line with the bid, indicating the City thinks this is an almost done deal. The talks are "amicable" said a source. TalkTalk chief executive Tristia Harrison is felt to have run the business well since taking over from Dido Harding, the baroness presently under fire as head of the NHS Test and Trace programme. Harrison is likely to remain as CEO if the deal goes ahead. Tosca already owns 29.9% of the company which has lately made inroads as a serious competitor to Sky and Virgin Media.