TBI changes tack and backs Vinci's £503m bid

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The Independent Online

TBI, the regional airports operator which is under seige from a hostile £503m bid, executed a volte-face yesterday and recommended that shareholders accept the 90p-a-share offer from the French construction group Vinci.

TBI, the regional airports operator which is under seige from a hostile £503m bid, executed a volte-face yesterday and recommended that shareholders accept the 90p-a-share offer from the French construction group Vinci.

Having continued to maintain that the bid was opportunistic and undervalued TBI, even after last Tuesday's terrorist attack on America, Keith Brooks, TBI's chief executive turned around and said the offer "appeared to be fair and reasonable" in "light of recent events and current market uncertainty".

TBI shares soared 22 per cent to 79.25p ­ but they are still 12 per cent below the price offered by Vinci when it launched the bid three weeks ago.

The first closing date for the bid is next Monday and TBI directors, accounting for 19 per cent of the shares, have accepted the offer and urged other shareholders to do likewise. If the level of acceptances is below 90 per cent, then technically Vinci could allow the offer to lapse and walk away. Alternatively, it could argue that there had been a material adverse change in TBI's prospects and withdraw the bid.

Vinci declined to comment last night although sources close to the group pointed out that it had always approached the bid as a strategic buyer, not a financial one.

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