Rothermeres weigh $1.1 billion bid to take Daily Mail owner private

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The Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) said the Rothermeres, who own 28% of the company, are ready to make a cash offer to buy the group outright, provided it sells its RMS insurance risk business and takes its partially-owned online car seller Cazoo public.

Shares in DMGT, which publishes the Daily Mail tabloid, The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, climbed as much as 10% to their highest in more than two decades in early trading but were last up 0.6% by 0854 GMT.

The Daily Mail was first published in 1896 by the ancestors of current DMGT chairman Jonathan Harmsworth, the Viscount Rothermere.

Despite years of falling sales, it became the UK’s top-selling newspaper as of last June after overtaking tabloid rival The Sun. The MailOnline is also among the most visited English-language news websites globally.

DMGT, which has been slimming down in the last few years to focus on its mainstay news business, is still in talks to sell RMS and could complete the sale before end-September if a deal was reached soon, it said.

Without its interests in Cazoo and RMS – which offers risk-modeling for businesses – DMGT would comprise of its dominant news publishing division besides its events and property information businesses.

DMGT said it would return any proceeds from a possible RMS sale and Cazoo’s listing to shareholders through an estimated 610-pence-a-share dividend that it has discussed with the Rothermeres.

The company is eyeing a $1.35 billion payout from the Cazoo flotation, that is expected in the July-September quarter.

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