Cooper may drop bid for Laird

Shares in UK electronics manufacturer Laird fell almost nine per cent yesterday after its US suitor Cooper Industries threatened to walk away from merger talks rather than launch a sweetened offer. Cooper said it may consider a higher bid than the £493m offer it made last month if due diligence supported a higher price, but said Laird has refused to allow it access to conduct the due diligence. Shares in Laird have jumped nearly 50 per cent since the takeover announcement in June.