April 10, 2012 / 6:40 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 2-Cobham renews Thrane & Thrane bid after stake buy

* Cobham makes another 270 million pound offer

* Amasses 25 pct stake after shareholders warm to proposal

* Makes renewed offer after Thrane chairman resigns

* Thrane & Thrane shares up 8.5 pct, Cobham up 0.1 pct

By Rhys Jones and John Acher

LONDON/COPENHAGEN, April 10 (Reuters) - British aero electronics group Cobham renewed its 270 million pound ($428.20 million) bid for Thrane & Thrane, after some investors warmed to the proposal, selling the suitor almost a quarter of its Danish rival.

Cobham submitted an offer of 420 Danish crowns ($73.78) per share in February, but on March 12 withdrew the offer for the satellite and radio communications equipment maker after its board failed to recommend the proposal.

Cobham Chief Financial Officer Warren Tucker said in a conference call that the situation surrounding Cobham’s interest had changed over the past few weeks, with the resignation of the previous Thrane & Thrane chairman leading to a number of shareholders offering Cobham their shares.

“We concluded that we did want to buy those shares at the same level as we had mentioned earlier,” Tucker said.

Cobham last week said it owned more than a quarter of Thrane & Thrane having bought a 22.7 percent stake after some investors in the Danish company offered to sell their shares.

Cobham’s 25.59 percent stake makes it Thrane & Thrane’s largest shareholder and exceeds the 24 percent holding of co-founder Lars Thrane who has opposed the takeover.

Shares in Thrane & Thrane leapt 8.5 percent to 422 crowns by 1232 GMT after earlier touching 428 crowns. Cobham shares were up 0.1 percent in London.

“Cobham continues to seek to work with the board of Thrane & Thrane to achieve a recommendation for this offer and to facilitate the bringing together of Thrane & Thrane and Cobham’s SATCOM business in a way that provides the best future for the business, its employees and customers.”

Thrane & Thrane’s chairman Morten Eldrup-Jorgensen told Reuters its board would make a recommendation to shareholders once Cobham made its offer officially.

He said a continuing strategic review could lead to various outcomes “ranging form the company remaining more or less a stand-alone company to embarking on finding another owner or something in between”.

Cobham said its offer represented a premium of 43 percent to the closing price of Thrane & Thrane shares on Feb. 24, the last trading day before Thrane said it had received a takeover bid.

Cobham said its offer was final, but reserved the right to raise it if a competing offer for Thrane & Thrane emerged.

The offer is conditional upon Cobham getting acceptance from owners of more than 50 percent of Thrane & Thrane’s stock.

Cobham wants to buy 100 percent of the stock, but is willing to own less than that initially, it said.

Lars Thrane could not be reached for comment and did not return Reuters calls.

Cobham Executive Chairman John Devaney said in the conference call that Lars Thrane still found the notion of selling his company “a little difficult in some areas”.

“We have made clear that our intention is to grow the business and take it to a new level, and we hope Lars will participate in the merger,” Devaney said. “He hasn’t done so far, but we hope the clarification of our position will convince him.”

Cobham said it expected the deal to be “moderately accretive to 2012 earnings” before the impact of any potential synergies which it estimated to be at least 2 million pounds per annum even if it did not get full control.

“I expect them to be at least double that if we get to 100 percent (ownership),” Tucker said.

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