Just as the Hyder controversy begins to die down, the Takeover Panel is hitting the headlines yet again, this time in connection with Allied Leisure’s sale to Georgica.
The contentious issue this time is how more than 50 per cent of fund managers with a stake were able to sell the company to former rival Nick Oppenheim, who ran Northern Leisure, for £50m, without consulting the board.
This is coupled with the fact that Georgica, a newco setup for the purpose of the takeover, is actually substantially smaller than its target.
Also, the institutions accepted a share-for-share deal from Georgica, a company with hardly any assets.
To add insult to injury, Allied Leisure, which issued a profits warning last year, actually posted a pre-tax profit of £6.74m. However, the offer by Georgica was already declared wholly unconditional as to acceptances by the time it became public.
Herbert Smith has acted for Oppenheim since 1991 until 18 months ago, when he sold off Northern Leisure to Luminar.
The Takeover Panel has rejected any protests from Allied Leisure, but the company is thought to be considering legal action.