Bid interest

Wood rejects US private equity takeover offers

Keith Gilmartin
Ken Gilmartin: addressing strategy

Shares in Wood Group, the Aberdeen-based energy services and consulting firm, shot up by a third after it revealed it had rejected three takeover approaches.

In a statement after the market closed last night, the FTSE-250 company said it received the unsolicited proposals from US-based Apollo Global Management valued.

The latest offer in January valued the company at £1.59bn. The cash offer for all of its shares was worth 230p each. The shares closed today 28.99% (44.85p) higher at 198.2p.

The company said: “The board carefully considered each of the proposals, together with its financial advisers, and has engaged on a limited basis with Apollo.

“The board unanimously rejected each of the proposals, having concluded that they each significantly undervalued the repositioned group’s prospects.”

It made the disclosure after markets had closed last night, in response to speculation that had briefly sent its share price up by 10% in late trading. The company was valued a £1.1 bn at last night’s close.

Under UK takeover rules, Apollo has until 22 March to announce a firm intention to make a takeover offer or walk away.

Ken Gilmartin, chief executive, unveiled a strategic update in November, aimed at addressing investors’ concerns over its debts.

In December, Sparta Capital, a London-based investment group headed by Franck Tuil, a former Elliott Management executive, called for Wood to launch a share buyback scheme and thus avoid becoming a takeover target.

News of the offers marks the second tilt at a London-listed firm by a US private equity house this week, after events business Hyve revealed it had received an offer from Rhode Island-based Providence.

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