200p-a-share bid placed
Matalan is to be taken private after chairman and founder John Hargreaves completed his long-running pursuit of the low-price retailer with an offer of£817.2 million.

Hargreaves, who has received the backing of Matalan's board, made the 200p-a-share offer at the last minute with backing from Icelandic bank Kaupthing, after it was reported that initial backer Barclays Capital walked away from the negotiations.

Hargreaves already owned 53.5 per cent of the business and had been given an extended deadline until midday today by the Takeover Panel.

He said: 'I am pleased we have come to an agreement to acquire the remaining shares in Matalan -The offer of 200p is full and fair and I would urge shareholders to accept the proposal.

'The company's recent difficulties have led me to believe that Matalan would be better off back in -private ownership -This will enable us to make the necessary changes to the business and restore the original values and ethos that enabled the company to grow.'

As the offer was made it emerged that Matalan's recent trading has been poor, with like-for-like sales for the six weeks to this month down 3.9 per cent on the same period last year.

Analyst Goldman Sachs said it expected shareholders to 'react positively to the news' and that there was a 'high probability' that the deal would go through.

However, it added that there was a chance that institutional investors would not accept a bid of 200p a share and would want to push it higher.

The Hargreaves offer - made through a new company called Missouri Bidco - represents a 20.8 per cent premium on the closing share price on June 29 - the last full day's trading before Hargreaves' interest was made public.