Warburg calls for dawn raid probe

Battle for Fisons: Bidder increases stakes

RUSSELL HOTTEN

Rhone Poulenc Rorer yesterday raised its hostile bid for Fisons and snapped up 16.6% of its shares in the stock market. But the move was immediately attacked by Fisons bankers, SBC Warburg, who demanded an inquiry into the dawn raid carried out by RPR's adviser Hoare Govett.

Warburg complained to the Stock Exchange and Takeover Panel, as RPR increased its bid for Fisons from 240p to 265p a share and raised its stake in the target to 16.6 per cent.

Fisons advisers were concerned about a number of share trades registered around 9.26am and 9.42am that may have made it appear as though RPR had snapped up more of Fisons than it had.

It was unclear whether Hoare Govett was behind the contentious transactions, and in the heat of the moment it is possible that the trades were mistakenly registered.

But the battle between Fisons and RPR has become increasingly bitter, and both sides are looking at ways to undermine their opponent's position. Hoare Govett were unavailable for comment.

RPR's renewed bid values Fisons at pounds 1.83bn. RPR said its renewed bid was final, but added that it reserved the right to raise it again should a third party bidder emerge or the UK's Takeover Panel allow it.

Stuart Wallis, Fisons' chief executive, said the final status of the second bid needed to be clarified.

"What I suspect is that it is final, but we would like that verified. Any other party would not want to reveal their hand until after Rorer's final bid." he said.

Mr Wallis declined to say if Fisons had had talks with any other potential bidders, but added that it would be unwise "to rule anything out."

He maintained that approaches were often made only after the original offeror had made a final move. He went on that Fisons would be producing a full response to the RPR terms "in the next few days" which would challenge a number of the assertions in the new offer document.

He said if RPR wanted a recommendation from the Fisons board then it would have to raise its bid again - something the Takeover Panel clause in the offer document may allow.

"We don't feel the bid is something we would want to recommend," he said, declining to name a price for the firm.

Robert Cawthorn, chairman of RPR said the new offer reflected both the intrinsic value of Fisons and the value of its contribution in terms of RPR's future growth.

"It is difficult to see how this bid could be seen as undervaluing the combined group. RPR is offering a very hefty premium," said Mr Cawthorn.

Analysts say the pricing of Rorer's second offer looks as if the firm believes it can win the bidding war in the marketplace and is unwilling to pay any more just to get a recommendation from Fisons' board.

Fisons said the near 15 per cent stake picked up in the market by RPR yesterday morning had resulted from arbitrageurs taking profit rather than through institutional selling. Fisons' share price currently stands 3p shy of the offer level at 262p. More than 250 million shares changed hands.

Mr Wallis will be handsomely rewarded by a takeover, thanks to his share options, which have risen in value as Fisons finances have improved.

Together with compensation for the loss of his pounds 315,000 a year salary, Mr Wallis could walk away from his year at Fisons with around pounds 2m.

After a series of resignations following the revelations that profits had been inflated, Mr Wallis moved swiftly to repair Fisons balance sheet and reputation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Developer - Watford - £45,000 - £47,000

£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Product Manager - (Financial Services) - SW London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine