- The Reed family, majority owners, are taking it back with a 140p a share offer.

The Reed family, majority owners of recruitment agency Reed Executive, are taking the company private with a 140p a share offer for the group. The offer values the group at £62.63m and represents a premium of 18.1% to its 118.5p closing price yesterday. This morning its shares rose 15.1% to 136.5p.

The Reed family’s stake in the group totals 73.25%. Together with other irrevocable undertakings for its offer, the Reed family has acceptances for the offer totalling 84.68% of the entire share capital of Reed Executive. The company is to be delisted.

In a separate announcement today, Reed Executive published its full year results for the year to December 2002. Pre-tax profits came in at £4.9m versus £9.7m on turnover of £349.4m against £407m. Basic earnings per share came in at 11.4p versus 22.7p in 2001.

Commenting on the offer, Professor Michael Eysenck, independent director of Reed Executive, said: 'The offer give shareholders an opportunity to realise their investment in the company for cash at a time when market sentiment towards smaller companies is increasingly negative. I consider the terms of the Offers to be fair and reasonable so far as the shareholders are concerned.'

The offer has been made by James Reed & Partners, a newly incorporated company established for the purpose of making the offer and led by James Reed, chief executive of Reed Executive. Following the offer being declared wholly unconditional, James Reed & Partners will be controlled by the Reed Family.

Justifying the Reed family’s decision to take the company private the James Reed said: ‘Due to negative market sentiment towards smaller quoted companies and the increasing illiquidity of the Reed Ordinary Shares, the directors of James Reed & Partners believe that the benefits to the company of maintaining its listing have been significantly eroded.