Raymarine set to reveal formal takeover offer

ELECTRONICS maker Raymarine was last night locked in talks with a mystery third party over the possible sale of its main holding company.

An announcement of a concrete offer from the unknown suitor, thought to be a private equity firm, could be made to the stock exchange as early as this morning. Raymarine says the planned transaction would deliver 17.5p per share to investors and pay off its £90m bank debt.

Watching with bated breath will be American satellite navigation behemoth Garmin, which has launched a separate offer of 15p per share valuing Raymarine at £12.5m. Garmin is keen to tap into the small Southampton-based company’s niche expertise but will wait to see the outcome of the ongoing discussions.

Raymarine, which makes GPS devices and marine radarS, is understood to favour a tie-up with the third-party bidder because there would be no competition issues. Although Raymarine and Garmin’s combined market share would be less than 30 per cent, anti-trust approval could take between three and six months.

Raymarine bosses Peter Ward and Tony Osbaldiston were in the City last night as the third party negotiations entered an “advanced” stage.