LONDON-Hotel and leisure group De Vere has agreed a euro 1.59-billion ($2 billion) takeover by Marylebone Warwick Balfour. A rival approach from the private equity group Permira was rejected by De Vere board because it was too conditional.

AHG Venice, created by Richard Balfour-Lynn and other directors of the listed group MWB, is offering 825p a share for De Vere, valuing the equity at euro 1 billion ($1.32 billion). With debt and pension liabilities, the total value of the deal tops euro 1.59 billion ($2 billion).

Shareholders representing 20% of De Vere’s equity, including former chairman Lord Daresbury and property group Trefick, have accepted the AHG bid, but the directors’ backing depends on clearance by the company’s pensions trustees and the pensions regulator. De Vere chairman David Richardson says that, “The board has received one offer [from AHG] capable of acceptance. It is a good price, one shareholders will want to look at. We have not received any other genuine offers.” Permira is expected to decide this week whether to make a counter bid.

AHG officials believe a combination of De Vere’s 18 four- and five-star hotels and its Village Holiday brand will fit with the private company’s Verve business, formerly Initial Style Conferences, which it bought from Rentokil in November.

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