Babcock told put up or shut up

Defence support services group Babcock has been given six weeks to “put up or shut up” on its £1.25bn pursuit of its rival VT Group. Yesterday’s notice from the Takeover Panel, which VT requested over a week ago to end the uncertainty surrounding a possible deal, forces the bidder to make a firm offer by 12 April or walk away for six months. VT, the shipbuilder-turned-outsourcer, itself has until next Monday to decide whether or not to table a formal bid for Mouchel, a smaller support services rival.