Bream given two weeks for AWG bid

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The Independent Online

Bream Investments, the bidding vehicle contemplating a takeover of AWG, the owner of Anglian Water, was yesterday given a two-week deadline to table an offer or walk away.

The Takeover Panel ruled that Bream must either announce a formal bid by noon on 18 June or withdraw. Bream has made two indicative offers, both of which have been rejected by AWG.

The ruling came amid reports that other suitors, including the private equity group CVC Capital Partners, are considering bids for AWG.

Bream's latest approach ­ worth 520p to 545p a share and valuing AWG at £900m ­ was tabled in March. Bream is fronted by Gordon Morrison, brother of Sir Fraser Morrison who is being sued by AWG for the allegedly fraudulent sale of his family construction business to AWG three years ago.

The panel's intervention came as it emerged that WestLB, Bream's financial backer, is likely to play a smaller role in any bid for AWG after the furore over deals done by its principal finance arm, headed by Robin Saunders. WestLB's sale of Mid Kent Water, which needs to be agreed before it can take part in a bid for AWG, has also hit a snag.

A spokesman for Bream would not comment on whether it would bid, how an offer would be financed or by whom, other than to say: "We are considering a number of options with regard to the prosecution of a possible offer."