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Computacenter launches hostile bid for Compel

Offers 85 million cash

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Computacenter, the UK's second biggest reseller, has launched a hostile 85 million take-over bid for the UK's third biggest reseller Compel.

The company this morning said it had approached the board of Compel with a cash offer of 275p per share to buy the whole group.

The move comes two weeks after reseller Specialist Computer Holdings snapped up 3.5 million Compel shares, or 11.3 per cent of the reseller, sparking speculation that SCH might try to buy its rival outright.

Today's offer by Computacenter depends on Compel's directors recommending the offer for acceptance, and on Compel handing over limited due diligence information which it has not yet agreed to do.

Mike Norris, Computacenter CEO, said: "I continue to hope that the Compel board will co-operate with our approach.

"An offer would provide Compel shareholders with the opportunity to exit, at a significant premium to the current share price and in cash, from a market which is both scale sensitive and consolidating."

The company added that it had made the announcement "to facilitate a more open discussion with Compel's shareholders on the attractions of Computacenter's proposals".

Compel issued a statement saying it was consulting its financial advisers, Close Brothers Corporate Finance, and would make a further announcement on the matter due course. "In the meantime the board advises shareholders to take no action," it added.

The proposition helped bolster Compel's share price by 51 pence this morning to 263.5p still below its mid-April high of 416.5p, and way off its January price of 628p.

Compel and Computacenter will also be watching SCH to see if it decides to make its own bid for the company. SCH chairman Peter Rigby will be laughing either way he paid around 200p per Compel share, a tidy profit for two weeks' worth of share holding. ®

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