ING tenders Baan stake to Invensys

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The Independent Online

Ing, the Dutch financial services group, finally agreed to tender its stake in Baan, the Dutch software house, to Invensys yesterday, a move that puts Invensys a step closer to acquiring the troubled business.

Ing, the Dutch financial services group, finally agreed to tender its stake in Baan, the Dutch software house, to Invensys yesterday, a move that puts Invensys a step closer to acquiring the troubled business.

ING, which holds a crucial 5.9 per cent stake, described Invensys' offer as reasonable. Furthermore, analysis of Baan's definitive full-year results, which were worse than the provisional figures, gave no indication that Baan would last as an independent concern.

Invensys had bid 2.85 euros a piece for Baan shares in its first major acquisition in several years. The controls maker currently holds 58 per cent of Baan but needs two-thirds to control the group and 95 per cent to delist Baan from the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

The news sent Baan shares to 2.77 euros, a gain of 6.13 percent. Before the release, Baan shares were up a more modest 1.5 per cent at 2.65 euros.

ING had been delaying selling its stake. While it had made no comment on the issue, ING stood to gain a short-term tax benefit of 140m euros if Baan was liquidated, versus the approximate 44m euros it will get from selling the shares to Invensys at 2.85 euros each.

Some reports had said it was hoping for a higher offer from Invensys.

ING said the sale would have no effect on its results outlook. It added the sale would be booked in the second quarter.

The change of heart by ING came after the group was subject to intense pressure to accept the Invensys offer by politicians and employee groups.

The Volkskrant newspaperyesterday published an open letter which the Dutch MP Leen van Dijke, a member of the Parliament's Economic Committee, sent to ING management urging them to tender the stake.

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