Cooper abandons Laird takeover bid


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The Independent Online

Cooper Industries, the Dublin-based electrical products company which has been attempting to buy London-listed Laird since June, has abandoned the £537m takeover after failing to strike an agreement on the price.

Copper had hoped to win over the Laird board by raising its offer at the end of July to 200p from 185p. But shortly afterwards, Laird, which makes electro-magnetic shielding devices for laptops and mobile phones, wrote back saying that it would enter takeover talks only if Cooper upped its bid to 220p per share.

At the time, Cooper chief executive Kirk Hachigian said: "We are frustrated. We have been clear that we have some flexibility on price and are keen to review any information provided by Laird to see if a deal can be done."

But yesterday, Cooper backed off, saying that although it still believed that "there would be strategic merit" in buying the rival business, it was unwilling to proceed at the price demanded by the Laird board or without being able to undertake due diligence.

"Consistent with the announcements on 27 July and 30 July, Cooper has elected to withdraw its interest," the company said.

News of the decision prompted a sell-off in Laird's share price, which slumped by nearly 15 per cent to close at 159.8p, down 27.9, last night.