The acquisitive engineering group Melrose yesterday confirmed it is in talks to buy the German-based water, gas and electricity meters maker Elster for $2.3bn (£1.5bn).
Melrose is offering $20.50 a share for Elster, which is a 25 per cent premium to Friday's closing price on the New York Stock Exchange.
The UK private-equity firm CVC, which holds 62 per cent of Elster, is reported to be looking for an offer of $22 a share.
Melrose said the bid will only go ahead if it gets the backing of Elster's board and undertakings from CVC.
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