The long-running battle reached its climax when Miller offered to sell its 6% stake, which gave the management team control of the Scottish housebuilder. It now needs 75% of the shares to fulfil its aim of taking the firm private.
Cala chairman Geoff Ball, who is leading Cala buyout vehicle Dotterel, said it would be looking to offer all shareholders 200p a share by the end of the week. “It was always our intention to buy on the market, and we have been delighted by our shareholders’ response,” he said. “A broad spread of institutions have sold to us.
“Cala shareholders have recognised that the management have delivered in terms of value and now they are delivering to us.” Ball refused to accept that 200p a share undervalued the company, although Miller was prepared to bid up to 210p. “When we bid at 165p, the investing institutions were pleased with that price and now it has dramatically improved,” he said.
Miller’s attempt to win control by offering 200p, with a caveat that a rival offer up to 210p would trigger another bid, backfired when the takeover panel ruled the move out of order. This allowed Dotterel to put in an equal bid of 200p, which was more attractive to shareholders. One analyst said: “It seems like Miller has tried to be too clever and has been caught out.” A Miller spokesman said: “Cala shareholders have demonstrated their support for the management and we wish it and its employees well.”