* ZF accepts Knorr-Bremse’s 125-crown-per-share offer
* Move gives Knorr-Bremse 35 pct stake in Haldex
* Knorr-Bremse needs more than 50 pct of shares in total
* Offer for Haldex runs through Dec. 5 (Adds Knorr-Bremse statement)
FRANKFURT, Dec 1 (Reuters) - German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen has agreed to sell a 20.11 percent stake in Swedish brake systems firm Haldex to rival bidder Knorr-Bremse, it said late on Wednesday.
That gives Knorr-Bremse a holding of around 35 percent in Haldex, a big step in its efforts to take over the Swedish group with a 5.53 billion crowns ($600 million) bid.
ZF and Knorr-Bremse have been locked in a bidding war over Haldex since early September, but ZF failed to win a majority and has since been reviewing its options.
The companies have been looking to buy Haldex to gain access to its expertise in brakes for trailers as they seek to develop integrated autonomous driving systems for commercial vehicles.
Haldex’s board has recommended shareholders accept Knorr-Bremse’s bid but has flagged risks the offer could face problems with competition authorities.
The 125 crowns per share offer, which runs until Monday, is conditional upon Knorr-Bremse obtaining more than half of Haldex shares, and on the German group obtaining regulatory clearance at acceptable terms.
Knorr-Bremse, which makes braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles, said on Thursday it appreciated ZF’s move to accept the offer.
“This step underlines the attractiveness of Knorr-Bremse’s offer made to the shareholders of Haldex,” it said in an e-mailed statement.
Shares in Haldex were up 2.4 percent at 117.75 crowns by 0941 GMT on Thursday.
$1 = 9.2231 Swedish crowns Reporting by Edward Taylor and Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Maria Sheahan; editing by Susan Thomas