This week, Miller not only beat the management team’s last bid of 190p by 10p but threatened to go up to 210p if Cala, or another bidder, pitches in higher. This would value the company at £103.5m.
A source said that the promise to go to 210p was an indication of Miller’s determination to nail the deal: “Miller have a history of walking away from deals which they don’t think are worth the bother, but they think 200p is a full and fair price.
“They are very interested in the business and feel they will still be able to squeeze out cost savings at that price, and even at 210p. Basically, they now want to save mucking around and put their cards on the table so they can stop playing this silly game of corporate tennis.” A spokesperson for Cala said: “We are considering our position and will make a further announcement shortly.” A reply was expected by the end of this week.
If Cala’s buyout vehicle, Dotterel, fails to come back with a higher offer, the Miller takeover will create the UK’s largest private housebuilding group to have its headquarters in Scotland.
Last week, Cala chairman Geoff Ball was reported as saying of Miller: “If they bid higher, they will be paying an awful lot for goodwill and that goodwill could walk out the door.”