John Laing warms to Henderson takeover


John Laing warms to Henderson takeover
Construction and infrastructure operator John Laing has announced that it intends to recommend a new takeover offer from Henderson Infrastructure (HIH) to its shareholders, having determined that the bid tops the previous approach it accepted from German insurer Allianz.

In a further twist to the takeover battle for the company, John Laing said this morning that it was prepared to recommend the £1 billion acquisition bid put forward by HIH on Friday, having last month withdrawn its support for an earlier offer put forward by the unit of fund manager Henderson in order to accept a £957.5 million bid from Allianz.

John Laing, which has overseen a number of public sector construction projects in the UK under private finance initiatives (PFIs), said that after considering HIH's latest offer, its board had decided that the terms of the revised bid were "fair and reasonable".

Under the offer, HIH has agreed to provide John Laing investors with 405 pence in cash per ordinary share, representing a 5.2 per cent premium on the price of the 385 pence a share bid made by its takeover rival Allianz.

John Laing, which is being advised by Greenhill, said that the revised offer would also enable its preference shareholders to receive 138 pence per preference share, consistent with the amount they would receive under Allianz's bid.

In a statement, the company said: "Given that the revised HIH offers represent superior value for ordinary shareholders, the Laing board believes it is appropriate to withdraw its recommendation of the Allianz Infrastructure Holdings Limited offers and instead recommends that all Laing ordinary and preference shareholders accept the revised HIH offers."

The owner of the Chiltern Railways franchise said that it expected that an offer document would be distributed by HIH to all its shareholders within 28 days from the date of its latest bid last Friday.

HIH said then that its revised offer for John Laing, which has built a number of schools, hospitals and roads in Britain, valued the company's ordinary share capital at about £950 million.

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