In October 2017, CDL launched a bid for its 65.2%-owned London-listed hotel subsidiary, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc (M&C), which owns, franchises and operates 137 hotels around the world, including landmark sites in London and New York.
Despite its enviable portfolio, M&C faced a highly challenging trading environment in each of its locations with intensifying competition. Its stable of hotels needed substantial capital investment. Through privatisation, CDL believes that M&C would achieve a more nimble and efficient organisation structure. A successful privatisation would also allow M&C to further leverage CDL’s significant infrastructure and resources.
CDL’s final offer for M&C’s minority shares – announced on 8 December 2017 – of 620 pence a share (comprising 600 pence a share, in addition to a special dividend of 20 pence per share), lapsed on 26 January 2018 at 1300 GMT after it did not meet the requisite acceptance condition from minority investors.
As of the final closing date of the final offer, valid acceptances were received from 47.14% of minority investors for the shares it does not currently own, short of the 50% threshold required for the offer.
Although CDL’s privatisation bid for M&C was curtailed, it respects the views of M&C’s minority shareholders and remains committed to maintaining its controlling shareholding in M&C, supporting M&C’s strategy as a hotel owner and operator and the extensive capital expenditure programme required to improve performance.
Analysts and market-watchers have largely been sanguine on the outcome, given the positive sentiment in Singapore’s residential sector and the potential deployment of CDL’s strong balance sheet towards strategic domestic and overseas acquisitions instead.