It’s impossible to know exactly how opposed the Murray & Roberts (M&R) board was to the Aton merger. Impossible to know whether its remarkably vigorous defence against the German firm’s bid was merely an attempt to extract a higher offer price or whether it believed the company had better long-term prospects as a standalone.

Similarly, it’s impossible to know the extent to which the M&R shareholders, other than Aton, who turned up in record numbers for various extraordinary shareholder meetings, were fundamentally opposed to an Aton takeover or merely wanted more money...

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