Royal Mail’s biggest investor would back ‘Czech Sphinx’ billionaire Daniel Kretinsky’s bid if the price is right
A top Royal Mail shareholder has said he would back a takeover bid by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky – but only at the right price.
The top 10 investors acknowledged that supporting a takeover of parent group International Distribution Services (IDS) would be a “difficult” decision and risked provoking “a lot of political backlash”.
But the shareholder, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject, said a bid worth “significantly more than” 400p per share from Kretinsky – nicknamed the Czech Sphinx due to his inscrutable behavior – should be considered.
Recovery target? Billionaire investor Daniel Kretinsky (pictured) owns 23% of parent company Royal Mail International Distribution Services
The stock is trading at 230.9p, giving the company a value of £2.21bn.
Kretinsky already owns 23% of IDS through his company Vesa Equity Investment and speculation is rife about his intention to buy the company.
Such a move is likely to trigger a political backlash and spark union opposition amid fears over jobs and working conditions.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents around 115,000 postal workers, is already locked in a bitter dispute with management that has led to a wave of strikes and cost the Royal Mail £200million.
Kretinsky made most of his money buying up Czech power plants and owns the biggest energy group in central Europe.
The 47-year-old also owns Sparta Prague football club and has a stake in West Ham United where he is a manager.
The anonymous shareholder, meanwhile, admitted to being frustrated with the growing problems facing Royal Mail.
The “ideal outcome” would be for the bosses to strike a deal with the unions and press ahead with their modernization plans, the investor said.
But if that proves impossible, they would consider support measures to separate Royal Mail from its much more successful international business, GLS. IDS management has twice warned that splitting the company is an option under consideration.
The investor said the mounting losses are “not sustainable” and when asked if he would support a Kretinsky takeover, the shareholder replied: “It depends on the price.
If Vesa was offering 400p per share, I would probably say no. If they offered much more than that, then maybe so.