Knorr-Bremse hits brakes on bid for Haldex

STOCKHOLM, Sept 19 (Reuters) - German brake systems maker Knorr-Bremse on Thursday withdrew its 5.5 billion crown ($692 million) bid for smaller Swedish rival Haldex, ending a bidding process which lasted more than a year.

The withdrawal comes after the Swedish Securities Council this month rejected Knorr’s request to extend the acceptance period for its bid, virtually eliminating any chance that the deal would be approved by competition authorities in time.

“The combination of Haldex and Knorr-Bremse would have been our preferred option which was clearly backed by the shareholders of Haldex. However, we will now pursue alternatives,” Knorr-Bremse said in a statement.

The deadline for the bid was Sept. 26.

Knorr-Bremse has been the sole bidder for Haldex since October after fellow German auto parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen conceded defeat after a bidding war.

Haldex’s board withdrew its support for Knorr-Bremse’s bid in June, saying the regulatory delays were hurting the company and that approval was unlikely.

Haldex shares were trading at 85 crowns per share before the bidding started in July last year. They closed at 105.75 crowns on Monday.

$1 = 7.9469 Swedish crowns Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Jason Neely