Cooper drops takeover bid for rival Laird

Kasmira Jefford
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LAIRD shares plunged 15 per cent yesterday after Cooper Industries announced it was withdrawing its bid for the electronics components firm, saying it is unwilling to proceed at Laird’s asking price.

Cooper Industries’ two-month battle to take over the smaller British rival came to a deadlock this weekend after the two companies were unable to agree on a price.

The Houston-based electronics firm sweetened its offer from 185 to 200p per share last Wednesday only to be rebuffed two days later.

Laird’s chairman Nigel Keen wrote to Cooper’s chief executive Kirk Hachigian to say that its board was not prepared to meet with Cooper unless it increased its indicative offer to 220p a share.

Sources close to City A.M said Laird’s response came as a surprise to Cooper, as it marked a U-turn in the terms under which it had initially agreed to meet with Cooper.

In a statement to the stock exchange yesterday the firm said: “Cooper continues to believe that there would be strategic merit in acquiring Laird but is unwilling to proceed at the price at which the Board of Laird will engage with Cooper or without being able to undertake due diligence.”

Laird dropped 27.9p to close at 159.8p, its lowest price since Cooper’s initial approach on 16 June.



Barclays Capital acted as adviser to Cooper Industries in its bid for Laird. Mark Warham, co-head of European M&A, led the advisory alongside managing director Mark Todd.

Warham’s team recently worked on the London Stock Exchange’s failed £4bn merger with Canadian peer TMX Group and was also recently hired by BHP to advise on its deal with Chesapeake.

Born in Leeds, Warham joined BarCap in May 2009 from Morgan Stanley, where he was head of UK M&A. He is currently a member of the Takeover Panel, and served as its director general between 2005 and 2007.

Mark Todd, managing director of BarCap, joined the investment bank from Citigroup’s mergers and acquisitions team in July 2009. Over the past year, Todd acted as adviser to Irish food company Greencore during its unsuccessful attempt to merge with Northern Foods.