Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

German industrial group Aton, which has launched a hostile bid for control of Murray & Roberts (M&R), has acquired a 25.4% stake in Aveng in a move that looks certain to kill the proposed transaction between M&R and Aveng. The stake is large enough to prevent the deal from getting the 75% support it will need from Aveng shareholders. Ed Jardim, M&R’s group investor and media executive, referred on Friday to a Sens statement that read the board would assess the latest development and its effect on the proposed deal with Aveng and provide guidance "in due course".

The announcement on Friday that Aton had bought the Aveng shares is the latest twist in one of the most fractious takeover battles on the JSE in recent years. Since Aton announced in late March that it wanted to buy out the 70% of M&R it did not already own, it has met with stiff opposition from the M&R independent board appointed to consider the merits of the offer. The M&R board declared Aton’s R17 a share offer, up ...

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