Severn’s bidders could walk away

Marion Dakers
SEVERN TRENT’S impatient suitors have until tomorrow to make a firm offer for the water company or walk away.

The LongRiver consortium is believed to have reacted badly to Severn’s abrupt rejection on Friday of an improved proposed offer of 2,200p per share, valuing the utility group at £5.3bn.

There has been no direct contact between the two sides’ management teams since shortly after the first bid in mid-May.

LongRiver is considering its options including giving up its pursuit of the FTSE 100-listed group if the board continues to stonewall, one source said.

The bidding group has said in several statements that it needs to complete due diligence and engage with Severn’s board before it makes a formal bid.

Severn Trent has turned down three offers in the space of a month, deeming them to have not properly valued the company’s prospects.

LongRiver, a consortium made up of Universities Superannuation Scheme, Borealis Infrastructure and a Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund, has been given a put-up-or-shut-up deadline of 5pm on 11 June by the Takeover Panel.

Severn Trent and LongRiver declined to comment yesterday.