Target calls in US aid

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ATTWOODS, the waste management group, has called in Smith Barney, the Wall Street advisers, to beef up its defence to the pounds 364m hostile bid launched against it last week by Browning-Ferris Industries of Texas.

Attwoods is already advised by the merchant banks S G Warburg and Robert Fleming but felt it needed extra clout on the other side of the Atlantic, where more than 70 per cent of its shareholders are based.

Ken Foreman, chief executive of Attwoods, said Smith Barney, which had already advised the company on a bond transaction, had the best analysts on the waste industry. US institutional investors were 'going to be crucial' in the outcome of the bid. Attwoods shares closed the week at 116p, 7p above the BFI offer of 109p.

However, some analysts believe it will have to lift its bid. William Fisher of the Florida-based brokers Raymond James calculates a 'liquidation value' for Attwoods of dollars 11 to dollars 12 per American Depository Share - or 141p to 167p per ordinary share. 'We believe it will take a higher offer to consummate this transaction,' he said.

The defence is an important test for Warburg and Fleming. Both advised Enterprise Oil on its failed bid for Lasmo.

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