LONDON Aug 1 Britain's Charter International
has cancelled some meetings with New York hedge funds,
people familiar with the matter said, focusing on long-term
shareholders as it takes its case for independence to the United
States this week.
The engineering company is under mounting pressure from
large European shareholders to open its books to Melrose
, after it rejected an indicative offer of 840 pence a
share, or 1.4 billion pounds.
Industrial buy-out company Melrose said last week it would
consider increasing its proposal if it had access to Charter's
books in order to do due diligence.
"Our meeting has been cancelled," said one New York hedge
fund due to meet Charter as part of U.S. roadshows this week,
who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"They didn't want to talk to the arbitrage community. They
know we'll support Melrose."
Bankers estimate that around 15 per cent or more of
Charter's stock is in the hands of hedge funds.
Large European shareholders inclding Aviva Investors also
support Melrose, putting Charter under considerable pressure as
it outlines its turnaround plan under new chief executive Gareth
Aviva, which has a 5.25 percent stake in Charter, said it
saw no reason to deny Melrose access to due diligence, adding
that the approach to Charter respresented a "compelling
According to a report in the Britain's Telegraph newspaper,
Charter's second biggest investor Schroders has also
written to the company demanding that it open its books to
Charter declined to comment.
(Editing by David Cowell)