AMS plans new Osram offer: Same price, lower acceptance rate

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria's AMS AMS.S plans to launch a new takeover bid for German lighting group Osram OSRn.DE at the same price but lowering the acceptance rate to 55%, to make its vision of becoming a global leader in sensors and lights come true.

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Sensor specialist AMS failed with its 4.5 billion euro ($5 billion) takeover offer for the leader in automotive lighting after a fierce takeover battle earlier this month. It collected 51.6% of Osram shares, including its own nearly 20% stake, falling short of the required 62.5%. However, it vowed to pursue the acquisition.

Swiss-listed AMS, which is best known for supplying Apple AAPL.O with sensors for iPhones, wants to expand in the auto industry and supply manufacturers with sensors and lighting systems for self-driving cars to reduce its dependence on smartphone producers.

AMS had sweetened its bid to the current 41 euros a share after private equity groups Bain Capital and Advent said they were prepared to trump the Austrian group’s initial offer of 38.50 euros.

Since AMS’s offer fell through, Bain and Advent have not made any public statement. They informed Osram in a letter on Friday that they would refrain from a takeover bid for the time being, the German company said.

With hope for a higher rival bid out of the market, AMS hopes to succeed this time.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of the new takeover offer to acquire Osram, delivering on our stated intention,” said AMS Chief Executive Alexander Everke. “We are convinced that our offer will be successful as it provides a highly attractive, fully valued price at a straightforward acceptance threshold.”

The German group initially did not welcome the much smaller Austrian firm’s intention, especially since the private equity groups had promised to keep it as an independent company. It said on Friday that recent discussions with AMS had been “constructive”.

Osram became a takeover target after its strategy of turning itself into a high-tech company focused on LEDs and state-of-the-art laser chips did not bring the hoped-for success.

“The managing board welcomes the progress made so far and is confident that both parties can agree on a future oriented strategic concept,” Osram said.

AMS targets annual cost savings of more than 240 million euros by 2023, helped by restructuring Osram’s front-end LED production in Germany, resizing its loss-making production site in Kulim in Malaysia and consolidating corporate functions, sales and reducing IT systems.

These savings would represent around 5% of the combined group sales of the last 12 months excluding Osram’s digital business, which AMS wants to sell, Vontobel analysts said in a note, adding that these ambitions were “not aggressive”.

To formally launch its new offer, AMS has to set up a new bidding company to avoid a legally required 12-months waiting period. It also needs the German finance watchdog Bafin to approve its bid.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle and Douglas Busvine, Editing by Franklin Paul and Elaine Hardcastle