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Clock ticking for would-be bidders told to ‘put up or shut up’


Deadlines draw in after takeover rule changes

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The clock is ticking for potential acquisition deals after regulatory changes forced a much tighter timeframe on would-be bidders.

The Takeover Panel effectively ordered suitors to ‘put up or shut up’ within a 28-day period with rules introduced on Monday.

The change of policy came partly in response to dissatisfaction with the way the German consumer goods giant Kraft Foods was able to buy Cadbury last year and is designed to help companies fend off unwanted takeover attention.

On-going bid talks that must now reach a conclusion by 17 October include bookmaker Ladbrokes’ interest in smaller rival Sportingbet .

In the same sector, William Hill has a month to snap up small Gibraltar betting operator Probability, with the talks confirmed by Probability on Monday after stories in the weekend press.

The clock is now ticking on the long-running saga between hotel operator MWB and office space supplier MWB Business Exchange, while banking software firm Parseq used Monday’s statement to announce further details of the approach made by its chief executive at 7.5 pence per share.

Other small deals with the 17 October deadline include potential bids for financial services firm Merchant Securities, Purple Ronnie brand owner Coolabi and insurance broker THB Group .

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Clock ticking for would-be bidders told to ‘put up or shut up’
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