Invensys tanks after admitting end of bid talks

INVENSYS shares plunged 14 per cent to 220p yesterday after the engineering technology company disclosed it had received a takeover approach from Emerson Electric but admitted that discussions are over.

It is understood that tight-lipped Invensys, which had until yesterday refused to comment on takeover speculation despite ongoing fluctuation in its share price, issued the statement with its arm firmly twisted by the Takeover Panel.

The London-listed firm’s stock jumped 27 per cent on Wednesday following speculation that Emerson Electric, the Fortune 500 company, was interested in Invensys’s controls business and would buy the whole company to secure the win.

This report was merely the latest in an ongoing saga of speculation that placed Invensys at the centre of a hot takeover battle, with Siemens, General Electric, ABB and Emerson mentioned as key players.

But Invensys yesterday said it is no longer in discussions with Emerson, adding: “Furthermore there are no other discussions taking place in relation to an offer for the group.”

While buyout rumours have been in the air for years, analysts pegged an offer as more likely since Invensys’ shares plunged in January following a profit warning.

But the company is plagued by a £4.2bn pension scheme, which it tried to offload last summer but was forced to give up when costs escalated to £1.7bn.