In a statement issued last week, the Quarto Group said it is expanding its search for possible buyers. The U.K.—based publisher and packager had been effectively put in play over the summer, when its largest shareholder, J.O. Hambro Capital Management, made a tender offer for the company. The Quarto board urged its shareholders to reject the offer, but said it would review the best way to maximize shareholder value.
According to the company, since the Hambro offer the board of Quarto "has been made aware of bona fide third-party interest in the company and intends to broaden the scope of its review" to search for other potential bidders. To help Quarto determine its strategic options, it has hired the investment banking firm Lazard & Co.
The move by Quarto to look for new buyers prompted Hambro to postpone the deadline for responding to its tender offer until further notice. The offer was set to expire on November 6.
Shortly after announcing its intention to consider possible offers for the company, Quarto released third-quarter results that show a 4% increase in sales, to £54.8 million, while operating profit increased 15%, to £15.5 million. Company chairman Laurence Orbach said that while the company searches for a possible buyer, he remains interested in Quarto making its own acquisitions.