Daily Mail

Wood set to turn down fourth offer from Apollo

- By Calum Muirhead

OIL rig engineer John Wood Group looks set to snub a fourth takeover bid by a New York private equity firm.

The FTSE 250 company said Apollo Global has submitted a fresh cash offer of 237p per share, valuing it at around £1.6bn. It followed three previous proposals, all unanimousl­y rejected.

Wood said the offer ‘continues to undervalue’ the business and it was ‘minded to reject’ the bid.

It added that it would continue to engage with Apollo Global ‘on a limited basis’ alongside other shareholde­rs.

Its shares surged 12.3pc, or 23.8p, to 217.9p as Apollo’s continued interest in the engineerin­g group has caused the stock to rise 40pc since the first three bid attempts were reported on February 22.

But the circling of a private equity shark is likely to fuel fears the London stock market is becoming a prime hunting ground for overseas groups taking advantage of the depressed share prices of UK companies.

Several big names have succumbed to takeovers in the past year including industrial software giant Aveva, cybersecur­ity firm Avast and IT group Micro Focus.

Others have found themselves in the crosshairs, with exhibition­s group Hyve receiving an approach from Rhode Island-based Providence Equity, offering 101p per share in cash, valuing it at £295m. Its shares have since risen to 104p. Meanwhile, there is growing frustratio­n that many UK companies are opting to pivot away from the London market in favour of listings in the US.

Software group Wandisco is the latest firm to set its sights on a move to New York, confirming this week it was exploring ‘an additional listing’ across the Atlantic.

It followed a decision by British microchip designer Arm to list its shares solely on Wall Street, dashing hopes of a dual UK-US listing in a major blow to the Square Mile.

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