Cooper raises its Laird bid up to £533m

City A.M. Reporter
COOPER Industries yesterday raised its takeover bid for British electronics firm Laird to 200p per share, or £533m, but repeated concerns that it did not have enough access to Laird’s books.

Laird said yesterday morning it had made new information available to Cooper Industries, signalling it was open to talks on a possible takeover.

Laird, whose board last month rejected a £493m offer from Cooper, said yesterday morning it remained open to any constructive talks that would help boost shareholder value.

“As such, certain high-level information, designed to allow Cooper to better assess the fundamental value of Laird, has been released to Cooper,” the group said.

Chief executive Peter Hill said the company had provided future revenue and profit projections to Cooper but added it had not had contact with its suitor since then.

Cooper hit back later in the day, claiming Laird had “provided a single page of high level forecasts, unsupported by any details, commentary or assumptions”.

“Based on the conversations over the past two days with Laird and its advisers, Cooper continues to be concerned that the Board of Laird has a view on the value of the company which is significantly greater than its own,” Cooper added.

“We welcome the fact that management has partially opened the books to Cooper,” Peel Hunt analyst Dominic Convey wrote, adding that underlying results also announced by the company were in line with his forecasts.

Laird posted a pre-tax loss for the six months to 30 June of £109.6m, which included an exceptional charge of £122.5m following the closure of its antennae businesses last month.

Laird shares fell seven per cent yesterday to 177.5p.