Oberthur to take its bid to shareholders

FRENCH firm Oberthur Technologies is set to continue un-deterred in its attempts to buy UK money printer De La Rue, despite the rejection of its bid on Monday.

Analysts are now anticipating a possible bidding war to take off over the next week, with German money printer Giesecke & Devrient named as a possible rival.

Sources close to Oberthur told City A.M. that the firm, which is privately owned by the Savare family, will be reaching out to De La Rue shareholders over the next few days in an attempt to persuade them of the benefits of the takeover.

The major shareholders include Capital World Investors, which holds 15 per cent of the stock, and Prudential, which holds 12 per cent.

In response to the bid, De La Rue’s senior management refused to meet with Oberthur and described the bid as a “highly opportunistic and preliminary proposal which does not begin to reflect De La Rue’s fundamental value”.

But many analysts were surprised by the response: the offer, at 905p per share, was 65 per cent above the share price on the day that it was made and is still above yesterday’s 847p close.

De La Rue has been vulnerable to a takeover bid ever since its announcement last month that it is in danger of losing its biggest client, the Reserve Bank of India, due to printing problems.