Western Resources

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The Independent Online
Western Resources boosted its stake in London-listed ADT in a move that may foreshadow an attempt to block Republic Industries planned acquisition of North America's largest electronic security company. Kansas- based Western increased its holding to 24.0 per cent from 23.1 per cent, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Western said soon after Republic's offer for Bermuda-based ADT last month that it might oppose the transaction, leading to speculation that Western also covets ADT.

"From our standpoint, (ADT) provides a natural growth strategy,'' George Norton, a Western Resources spokesman, said. He declined to elaborate beyond the company's SEC filing, which said the company is "still considering its options'' on the Republic and ADT agreement.

A spokesman for Republic, which is controlled by billionaire H. Wayne Huizenga, declined to comment as did ADT. Republic, which has interests in waste disposal, electronic security and used-car superstores, plans to buy ADT for $3.98bn in stock and assumed debt. The combined companies would have 1.6 million security customers and estimated sales next year of $5 billion. ADT's shares fell $5/8 to $19 5/8 on the news. . They have traded as high as $22 7/8 since the merger announcement. (Bloomberg)