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UK's Pendragon ends buyout talks but takeover interest lifts shares

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(Reuters) -Car dealer Pendragon said on Friday talks over a potential takeover of the company were terminated after an unnamed bidder withdrew its interest, as one of the company's five major shareholders would not participate.

Shares of the car dealer rose 11% to 24 pence as the company disclosed the takeover approach valuing it at about 460 million pounds ($558 million) or 29 pence per share, a nearly 35% premium to the stock's last close.

Sky News in March had reported that Hedin Group, Pendragon's largest shareholder, tabled an offer to buy the company which was later rejected.

Pendragon said on Friday "a large international corporate" had made the proposal after a period of due diligence.

A spokesperson for the company declined to name the bidder or to identity the shareholder that did not engage in the talks.

Four of the company’s shareholders strongly supported the bid after the board believed that the proposal merited engagement, the car dealer said in a statement.

Founded in 1989, the London-listed firm operates 160 sites across the UK and has been making big profits thanks to strong demand for used cars and pent-up sales after lockdown restrictions were lifted.

However, the company warned in March that the Russia-Ukraine conflict could disrupt new vehicle supply chains and lead to higher costs.

Along with Hedin, the company's top shareholders Schroders, Odey, Briarwood Chase and Hosking Partners have a combined stake of 64.78% in the car dealer, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

The five major shareholders did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comments.

($1 = 0.8239 pounds)

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar and Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; editing by Shailesh Kuber and Jason Neely)

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