Breakingviews

Smiths Group breakup saga may end with a whimper

2 minute read

A picture shows the screen of a luggage scanner at the security check at Schoenefeld airport outside Berlin, April 27, 2011.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

LONDON, July 12 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Britain’s 6.4 billion pound Smiths Group (SMIN.L) has been a breakup candidate for the best part of a decade. It has four industrial divisions, which make everything from airport scanners to seals for oil pipelines, and a medical device business specialising in ventilators, syringes and needles. The company rebuffed a 2.45 billion pound offer for that unit from buyout group Apax in 2011, only to announce plans for a spinoff in 2018, which it then paused during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The saga may finally end under new Chief Executive Paul Keel , who according to the Mail on Sunday is in advanced talks with U.S. private equity group TA Associates about a 2 billion pound bid read more for the medical division. That’s below the 2.1 billion pounds JPMorgan analysts think it’s worth. Investors’ bigger gripe will be the slow progress: Smiths’s shares have trailed the Refinitiv Global Industrials Index by 20 percentage points since it announced the separation plans in 2018. The company’s glacial breakup is heading for a lacklustre conclusion. (By Liam Proud)

On Twitter http://twitter.com/breakingviews

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Capital Calls - More concise insights on global finance:

Atos profit warning may tempt bottom-feeders read more

Wesfarmers takes M&A temperature read more

China’s easing gesture underscores growth worries read more

Abu Dhabi’s IPO season starts with a bang read more

Rot starts to spread in China’s e-grocery frenzy read more

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and Karen Kwok

Breakingviews
Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.

Sign up for a free trial of our full service at https://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.

More from Reuters