Henderson ups John Laing offer

10-11-2006

Henderson ups John Laing offer
Henderson Infrastructure (HIH) has announced that it has increased its offer to acquire British construction and infrastructure operator John Laing to £1 billion.

The announcement by HIH, a unit of the fund manager Henderson, represents an attempt to see off a £957.5 million takeover offer from German insurer Allianz, which John Laing's board said last month they would be recommending to the company's shareholders.

In a statement issued last month John Laing, which has overseen a number of public sector construction projects under private finance initiatives (PFIs), confirmed that it had decided to withdraw its backing for a previous 355 pence per share bid made by Henderson, describing the Allianz offer as being of "materially higher value"

In an effort to outbid Allianz's offer, HIH said that its new pledge to provide John Laing investors with 405 pence in cash per ordinary share represented a 5.2 per cent premium on the price of the 385 pence a share bid made by its takeover rival.

The company added that its latest offer, which values John Laing's ordinary share capital at about £950 million, also represented a 47 per cent premium to the Laing ordinary share price of 275.5 pence on September 13th, the last business day before its acquisition target announced that it had received an approach.

HIH, which is being advised by Rothschild over the deal, said that it planned to "seek a recommendation" from John Laing's board of directors over its latest takeover offer.

John Laing, which owns the Chiltern Railways franchise and has built a number of schools, hospitals and roads in Britain, has yet to comment on the fund management group's latest offer.


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