An eerie calm has settled over the Aton-Aveng-Murray & Roberts (M&R) battleground. This probably means the parties are busy planning their next tactical move rather than that they are considering settlement talks. M&R is working through a due diligence on Aveng, the outcome of which will determine whether or not it will go ahead with an offer. If it goes ahead, then it will need to get shareholder and regulatory approval. On the regulatory front M&R is confident the application to the competition authorities will be straightforward as there is no overlap in the two group’s South African businesses.Nevertheless they may be tempted to impose conditions on the deal, which would presumably fall to Aton if it acquires control of M&R. In this context, it is significant that Aton has made its mandatory offer for M&R conditional on its right to reject any conditions attaching to the merger clearance or approval in SA and other jurisdictions. Given the local industry’s history with the compe...

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