Severn Trent bidder walks away after third snub

Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:29pm EDT
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By Anjuli Davies and Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) - The Canadian-led consortium wooing Severn Trent (SVT.L: Quote) walked away empty handed on Tuesday after the British water company refused to engage in talks before a bid deadline expired.

The LongRiver consortium, which had three approaches spurned by Severn Trent, said it would not table a new offer unless talks with the utility's board were forthcoming.

"We told them what we needed, they didn't do anything, that's their prerogative," a source familiar with the consortium's thinking told Reuters. "Never at any stage did they say 'If you bid X or Y that would be acceptable'."

The source said there had been no meetings since the first approach on May 14.

The consortium's last approach, pitched at 2,200 pence a share and valuing the water company at $8.2 billion, was given short shrift by Severn Trent on Friday, saying that it did not reflect the long-term value or potential of the company.

Its stance tested the patience of the bidder, comprising Borealis Infrastructure BINTR.UL, part of Canadian pension fund OMERS, a Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund and Britain's Universities Superannuation Scheme.

The two parties had until 12 noon ET to start talks, under a timetable imposed by Britain's mergers and acquisitions regulator.

Severn Trent said it had always been open to negotiations provided that LongRiver put forward a proposal which properly reflected the long-term value and potential of the company.   Continued...