The Murray & Roberts (M&R) share price has dipped below the R17 that Aton has offered shareholders, indicating that shareholders are not holding out much hope that Aton will be pressured into increasing its offer any further. The two issues that have contributed to the recent price decline are Aton’s rather inspired decision to buy a 25.4% stake in Aveng, enabling it to block the proposed tie-up with M&R, and the Takeover Special Committee’s (TSC’s) prohibition on that proposed tie-up. There have been many twists and turns in this transaction, so it’s tempting fate to suggest that the independent board of M&R have now run out of defence options, but it is difficult to imagine what more they could do to secure the R20-plus they claim M&R is worth. With enough time and resources the independent board might have been able to put up a reasonably spirited challenge to the ruling by the takeover council. The board evidently wasn’t happy about the ruling, but noted it had "resolved not to ...

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