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Golf News: - Posted 12th July 1998

PGA at centre of bid speculation

London - The spectre of bid activity is looming at PGA European Tour Courses, the golf-course operator, between two of the biggest companies in the game. ClubCorp, the American group that operates several hundred golf and country clubs has already built a 29.9 per cent stake in PGA, and now it has emerged that David Price, chief executive of American Golf, has personally built up a 4.5 per cent holding.

There is speculation that Price may increase his stake, a move that could prompt a full bid for PGA by ClubCorp, run by the billionaire Robert Dedman and his son, also called Robert.

Shares in PGA closed on Friday at 42 1/2p, against a year low of 30p, valuing the company at 27m.

The two American companies are keen to expand their presence overseas and PGA European Tour Courses provides an attractive ticket. The company, which has had a troubled history since it reversed into Union Square, the property group, has interests in Stockley Park club near Heathrow, Collingtree Park, Northamptonshire, and half of Woburn Country Club as well as Portugal's Quinta do Lago course.

Other investors in PGA European Tour Courses include Mark McCormack's IMG.

A spokesman for PGA European Tour Courses said it planned to contact Price to determine what his motives were.

ClubCorp has annual revenues of $840m, compared with American Golf's $600m.