21 September 2011 – The Times
The billionaire owners of Northern Racing have made a bid approach for Arena Leisure in a move that would transform the racing landscape. Arena, which runs seven courses including Doncaster and Lingfield Park, was forced by the Takeover Panel to confirm that it had received an approach from the Reuben brothers.
Under takeover rules brought in this week, the Reubens have been given until October 18 to lodge a formal offer, although Arena said that it planned to request an extension.
The announcement follows the revelation by The Times in June that Arena was preparing to canvass suitors as part of a strategic review. The Reubens, who bought Northern Racing four years ago for £90 million, already own almost 30 per cent and have long been tipped to buy the rest. Their chances of agreeing a deal are likely to depend on Trevor Hemmings, the leisure entrepreneur and racehorse owner, who holds a 41.5 per cent stake.
Mr Hemmings has indicated that he wants at least 60p a share, a big premium to last night’s close of 35.01p, up 3.86p or 12.4 per cent. A bid at 60p would value Arena at £218 million, or about £246 million including debt.