Cobham Raises Bid for Danish Antenna Maker

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BERLIN — Britain’s Cobham plc said May 3 it had broken through the resistance of the board of directors of Danish mobile satellite antenna builder Thrane & Thrane and is now on the threshold of acquiring the company.

Dorset, England-based Cobham, whose initial attempt to purchase Thrane & Thrane in March was rebuffed, notably by Thrane & Thrane founder Lars Thrane — a major shareholder — said it agreed to raise the offer price by 15 Danish kroner, to 435 kroner ($77.10), per Thrane & Thrane share.

Cobham said this sum would have been paid to shareholders in any event as it corresponds to a dividend that Thrane & Thrane had promised to pay shareholders in June for the fiscal year ending April 30.

The new offer values Thrane & Thrane at $446 million, a 2.6 percent increase over the former offer. The offer is equivalent to 15.4 times Thrane & Thrane’s operating profit for the 12 months ending Jan. 31.

Cobham said Lars Thrane, who owns nearly 23 percent of the company’s share capital, had signed a binding commitment to sell his ownership under the new Cobham terms. Other Thrane & Thrane board members have made similar agreements, which Cobham said brings its total current and committed Thrane & Thrane ownership stake to 47.4 percent.

Thrane & Thrane’s board, acting independently of Lars Thrane, has agreed to propose to the company’s shareholders that they agree to the Cobham offer, Thrane & Thrane said in a May 3 statement.

Following several acquisitions in recent years, Cobham’s current satellite communications antenna business does about $160 million a year in business. For the year ending Jan. 31, Thrane & Thrane’s revenue was about $192 million.

Combining the two companies will create what Cobham believes will be the world’s biggest provider of satellite antennas for applications in the maritime, aeronautical and land-mobile sectors. The combined company will be operated from Thrane & Thrane’s current site in Denmark, Cobham has said.

“We are very pleased that, by increasing our offer to take account of the dividend for the year now ended, we have reached agreement with the board of Thrane & Thrane,” Cobham Executive Chairman John Devaney said in a May 3 statement. “Their recommendation will allow us to move quickly, and with certainty, with the integration of Thrane & Thrane into the Cobham group.”

Cobham said that, assuming it acquires 100 percent of Thrane & Thrane, the combined company will realize 4 million British pounds ($6.5 million) in savings per year.

 

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