"The M&R [Murray & Roberts] board is playing normal chess while the Germans are playing 3D chess." It’s hard to disagree with twitter wag @JSE_School_Bus as the results of construction group Aveng’s last-gasp rights offer come in. They reveal that German group Aton — which is trying to buy out M&R and has been highly critical of M&R’s tilt at Aveng — itself now owns 25.4% of Aveng. A chess gambit known as "the hippopotamus" comes to mind: behaving like a hippo lying in wait, Black "sets up a flexible defence that can adapt to whatever White tries", in the words of website chess.com. How else could one explain Aton’s desire to be invested in an asset that it recently described as "highly detrimental" to M&R, bringing as it did "higher operating risk, significant debt and negative cash flow"? As for M&R, the company’s head of investor relations, Ed Jardim, says: "We understand that the 25% essentially provides negative control in Aveng to Aton, as [it is] able to block all special res...

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