Osram gets $4B takeover offer from Austria’s AMS

Europe

MUNICH — AMS re-entered the battle for Osram with a 3.7 billion euros ($4.1 billion) offer, days after a major shareholder rejected a lower bid by rivals for the German light and sensor maker.

The offer from AMS, an Austria-based supplier of high performance sensor solutions, values Osram at 38.50 euros a share. That compares with the 35 euros-a-share offer from private-equity firms Bain Capital and Carlyle Group, which was rejected as too low by Osram’s major investor, Allianz Global Investors.

The new offer is in line with an earlier bid that AMS mooted but then withdrew almost a month ago.

Osram raised “valid concerns in the past, and I think with the offer we provided them yesterday, we answered all their concerns,” AMS CEO Alexander Everke said in a call with reporters on Monday. “We have been looking at Osram for a long time.”

AMS is in regular contact with investors, including Allianz, Everke said.

Allianz is a shareholder of both companies, holding about 0.38 percent in AMS and 9.3 percent of Osram, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Osram became a takeover target after a series of profit warnings and a public spat over strategy with Siemens, which spun off the division in 2013. Its earnings have suffered because of the company’s exposure to the automotive industry, which accounts for over half of its revenue.

Automakers and suppliers are grappling with shrinking demand in China and Europe and the expensive transition to electric cars. Investors also lost confidence in the ability of CEO Olaf Berlien and management to turn around Osram.

“This counter bid will test how keen the private-equity consortium is for the Osram asset as AMS has now secured financing to offer 10 percent more per share,” Morgan Stanley analyst Lucie Carrier said in a note.

If AMS were successful in its takeover attempt, it would sell off Osram’s digital division that makes lighting controls for use in horticultural and medical systems, among others.

AMS would also not touch Osram’s collective bargaining agreements for five years, it said.

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