Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Aton will have to increase its stake in Murray & Roberts to at least 46% if it wants to block M&R’s proposed transaction with Aveng. Failing that it will have to successfully challenge the right of some M&R shareholders to vote on the deal. This means that unless an amicable solution is reached, one of the most fractious takeover battles in recent years could drag on for months, with the takeover regulation panel and the competition authorities forced to play continuing roles as each party uses the regulators to thwart the other. The panel has given M&R’s board the all-clear to proceed with its potential merger with Aveng, M&R said on Thursday. Its decision was announced shortly after M&R shareholders voted in support of the board proceeding with a possible merger with Aveng. On Tuesday, M&R announced that shareholders with 92.3% of the voting rights attended the controversial meeting; 52% of those in attendance supported the resolution. The vote indicates a relative handful of M&R ...

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