AAH clarifies defence

BY MAGNUS GRIMOND

AAH, the pharmaceuticals group fending off a £400m bid from the German group Gehe, has been forced to clarify its latest defence document after criticism by the Takeover Panel.

The Panel has forced AAH to admit it had no hard evidence that Gehe would continue to support the share price by buying shares if its offer lapsed. Under takeover rules Gehe would not be allowed to increase its stake by more than 1 per cent until 12 months after a failed bid. AAH had suggested to shareholders that Gehe would then seek to increase its holding and the prospect would "further underpin the value of your shares."

Gehe now owns or has acceptances for 28 per cent of AAH. The final deadline for the offer is next Tuesday, May 2 ; several large institutions hold close to a third of the equity.

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