US bid for UK’s Rexam makes a tin can titan

Tim Wallace
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SHAREHOLDERS in can-maker Rexam are in line for a major payout as the British firm is the subject of a takeover bid by US rival Ball Corporation.

The £4.3bn cash and share offer would give a 36 per cent premium on the share price at the start of trading yesterday.

If the pair did come together, they would form a global titan – each has around 21 per cent of the global market in can manufacturing, closely followed by rival Crown.

When the 610p per share bid was announced, the stock jumped from 447.6p to close the day up 20.2 per cent at 538p.

Rumours had previously circulated hinting that a private equity buyer could also be interested.

Rexam’s board said it is considering Ball’s offer.

“The board of Rexam notes the recent media speculation and confirms that it is in discussions with Ball Corporation, which may or may not lead to a formal offer being made for Rexam,” it said in a statement.

Under Takeover Panel rules, Ball has until 5 March to announce a formal offer or to call off its buyout bid. Ball cautioned investors: “There is no certainty any formal offer will be made for Rexam.”

Ball’s shares rose 8.75 per cent on the announcement of the bid discussions.

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