Wace accepts US offer to escape Photobition

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The Independent Online
WACE, the loss-making London-based graphic imaging specialist, yesterday leapt into the arms of Schawk, an acquisitive American white knight, to escape last month's hostile offer from Photobition, its smaller but profitable UK rival.

Wace shares jumped 17.5p to close at 75.5p, 5.5p above Schawk's offer, after Wace revealed it had had more than one approach. However, Wace directors are recommending Schawk's cash offer of 70p a share and one 10.625 per cent subordinated note for each Wace preference share, which values the company at pounds 94.6m.

The cash offer is 20.6 per cent above the market price on Wednesday night. It also tops Photobition's alternative cash offer of 50p and offers Wace shareholders a 72.8 per cent premium over the price of their shares, which closed at 40.5p on 18 December, the day before Photobition's offer.

Over 60 per cent of Wace's business is now in the US, and the two businesses are a good fit, with Schawk's strength at the pre-packaging stage complementing Wace's expertise in advertising, a spokesman said.