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When a ‘Sighting Shot’ is the only shot

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When a ‘Sighting Shot’ is the only shot

We have been watching with some interest the attempts by the Steelmakers Australia consortium to engage with the Arrium board (not that we have ever owned shares in Arrium).

Often in an unsolicited takeover offer, the initial bid will be a “sighting shot”, which the board will quickly reject. According to the conventional storyline, the bidder then ups the offer, the target board relents, and shareholders are left with the impression that the board has managed to secure a better deal for them.

In the case of the Arrium bid, Steelmakers Australia appears to have diverted somewhat from the standard script. They have come back with some modifications to their original proposal (shorter due diligence, evidence of funding capacity), but have not lifted the price.

This is not be a good sign for the Arrium board, nor its shareholders. It indicates that Steelmakers Australia sees itself having a strong negotiating position.

The reason for this may be the $2.14b of debt on Arrium’s books. Steelmakers Australia may expect that Arrium’s directors will be reluctant to negotiate too hard lest the offer disappear, leaving the debt problem to be resolved by the board.

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Roger is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Montgomery Investment Management. Roger brings more than two decades of investment and financial market experience, knowledge and relationships to bear in his role as Chief Investment Officer. Prior to establishing Montgomery, Roger held positions at Ord Minnett Jardine Fleming, BT (Australia) Limited and Merrill Lynch.

This post was contributed by a representative of Montgomery Investment Management Pty Limited (AFSL No. 354564). The principal purpose of this post is to provide factual information and not provide financial product advice. Additionally, the information provided is not intended to provide any recommendation or opinion about any financial product. Any commentary and statements of opinion however may contain general advice only that is prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial circumstances or needs. Because of this, before acting on any of the information provided, you should always consider its appropriateness in light of your personal objectives, financial circumstances and needs and should consider seeking independent advice from a financial advisor if necessary before making any decisions. This post specifically excludes personal advice.

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