View from City Road: Takeover Panel should do the decent thing

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The Independent Online
The arrival of a mystery white knight in the acrimonious bid by SCI for Great Southern is almost too convenient for the controlling Field family to be true. Without it the 44 per cent of the shares they didn't own would almost certainly be on their way to Texas by now and a prickly minority shareholder would be securely on the register.

The takeover rules may be tortuous but the effect of the timely negotiations is simple. Great Southern's shares have been pushed firmly out of SCI's reach because the market expects a higher bid and the bidder is not allowed to pay any more than it already has.

The Takeover Panel will of course have assured itself of the mystery bidder's bona fides. But if after Saturday's deadline for SCI to make market purchases the bidder were to change its mind, the panel should do the decent thing. If, after all, there is to be no counter-offer, SCI should be given the days it has lost to build up a meaningful minority and force the Fields' hands.

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