Dalata shares suspended amid Moran Bewley buyout talks
Shares in Dalata Hotel group have been temporarily suspended after it confirmed it was in talks to potentially buy Moran Bewley's Hotel Group.
The stock was suspended from trading in both the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London and the Enterprise Securities Market (ESM) in Dublin yesterday morning "pending an announcement".
Dalata, the largest hotel operator in Ireland, confirmed it was in "exclusive discussions in relation to the potential acquisition of the Moran Bewley Hotel Group."
It added: "There can be no certainty at this time that a transaction will proceed and we will update shareholders in due course."
Founder Pat McCann declined to comment further when contacted by the Irish Independent.
No figure has been put on a potential deal although it has been speculated it could be in the range of €450m, making it one of the biggest hotel deals in Ireland if it goes ahead. Talks began as far back as May.
"The potential acquisition would constitute a reverse takeover ... and would be conditional on the consent of shareholders," Dalata said in a statement.
"Dalata's shares will now be suspended from trading pending the conclusion of discussions in relation to the potential acquisition or the publication of an admission document for the enlarged group."
Moran Bewley's said that it did not want to comment on "an ongoing and uncompleted process".
"As always, it is business as usual at all of our hotels, as we look forward to what will be a very busy Christmas at Moran & Bewley's Hotels," it said.
The Dalata group, founded in 2007, operates 38 hotels with almost 6,000 bedrooms. Fourteen hotels are operated under lease agreements.
Moran Bewley's Hotel group has 10 hotels. In September, Dalata announced its acquisition of the three-star Tower Hotel in Derry for almost €5.5m and is being re-branded under the Maldron label.
Other recent acquisitions include the Maldron hotels at Pearse Street and Parnell Square in Dublin.
Dalata's shares traded at €2.89 before trading was suspended.