AB Ports agrees takeover bid


Associated British Ports (ABP), Britain's largest ports operator, has accepted a £2.48 billion takeover bid from a consortium led by Goldman Sachs.

The firm, which controls a quarter of the UK's ports including those in Southampton, Ipswich, Plymouth and Hull, finally succumbed to Goldman Sachs' advances after an 810p per share offer was made.

A special company, Admiral Acquisitions, had been formed to take over ABP. As well as Goldman Sachs its members include the Canadian Borealis Infrastructure Management and the government of Singapore's investment arm, GIC Special Investments.

"ABP is a unique strategic asset," said its chairman, Chris Clark.

"The consortium's offer reflects that and recognises the strong operational and financial performance of the business. This is an excellent opportunity for shareholders to realise the significant value that has been created."

ABP had previously rejected a 730p per share offer from Goldman Sachs but, trading earlier this morning at 820p per share, has now achieved a value much closer to its current market performance.

With growing trade from China and stability of income flow, ports are becoming attractive investment opportunities at present. In March P&O were taken over by Dubai Ports World for a deal worth $6.8 billion.

Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, will be relieved after securing ABP. Its success comes in the aftermath of an embarrassing failure to close a takeover bid on airports operator BAA, losing out earlier this month to Spanish services firm Ferrovial.

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