* FLIR buys marine navigator as it enters administration
* Higher Garmin offer rejected
* Shares reverse earlier losses, up 29 pct before being suspended
(Recasts with FLIR sale)
LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - U.S. thermal imaging firm FLIR Systems Inc (FLIR.O) bought Raymarine RAY.L, the UK maker of marine radar systems, out of administration in a deal worth $180 million, beating off competition from navigation systems maker Garmin (GRMN.O).
FLIR said the deal was worth $180 million, including repaying all of Raymarine’s debt. It equates to about 20 pence a share, or $24 million, for Raymarine Plc, FLIR said.
The sale to FLIR was announced on Friday after the market close. Garmin earlier on Friday offered to pay about 35 pence per share for Raymarine, trumping its own previous bid of 15 pence per share.
But a source close to Raymarine, which makes marine radar and GPS systems for boats, said the administrators had chosen the FLIR offer as it was immediately deliverable.
Garmin had said its proposal was conditional on the receipt of anti-trust approvals.
“The sale of the business follows a thorough M&A process by the company and a series of discussions with various interested parties. The administrators concluded that the sale to FLIR provided the best available outcome for employees, shareholders and creditors,” said Raymarine in a statement.
FLIR, which makes thermal cameras for medical, border patrol, search and rescue and other uses, called the buy “strategically compelling”.
Raymarine had said in a earlier statement on Friday afternoon that its banking syndicate was placing it into administration, as it was unable to repay its outstanding loans.
Raymarine shares, which touched a market low of 9 pence earlier in the session, spiked up to as much as 20 pence after the Garmin announcement, before being suspended.
Reporting by Aditi Samajpati in Bangalore and Rosalba O'Brien and Paul Sandle in London; Editing by Kavita Chandran and Quentin Webb