VIENNA (Reuters) – Germany’s finance watchdog Bafin is likely to decide next week whether to approve Austrian sensor maker AMS’s <AMS.S> <AMS.VI> new takeover offer for Osram <OSRn.DE>, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
AMS wants to launch a second bid for the German lighting group after its 4.5 billion euro (£3.9 billion) attempt to form a European leader in sensors and lights failed earlier this month.
German law requires a company to wait 12 months after a failed takeover attempt before launching a new one. AMS has set up separate subsidiaries to make each bid, something Bafin said is a formally correct procedure although not in the proper spirit of the law.
AMS has not increased its offer of 41 euros per Osram share but would now accept a 55% stake instead of the 62.5% it sought earlier, having only received acceptances for 51.6% of Osram shares, including the nearly 20% stake it already owns.
It said on Oct. 18, when announcing the new bid, that it intended to commence the four week offer period by the end of the month.
“It seems realistic not to expect a (Bafin) decision before mid next week,” one source said.
AMS did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Bafin did not comment.
Investors who did not tender their shares to AMS had hoped private equity firms Bain Capital and Advent would trump AMS’ offer. But those firms have since informed Osram that they would refrain from an offer for the time being.
Talks between AMS and Osram are ongoing, aiming to reach broad agreement among all parties including labour representatives who oppose AMS’ plan, the sources said.
AMS has said that it would like to have a cooperation agreement with Osram in place before formally launching the new offer.
After intensive discussions, Osram’s management has dropped resistance to the AMS bid and voiced confidence that both parties could agree on a strategic concept.
AMS wants to combine its expertise in sensors with Osram’s in lights to develop package solutions for self-driving cars and industrial and smartphone applications.
The Austrian company submitted its first bid via a subsidiary founded for the purpose, Opal BidCo GmbH. It has now set up a new vehicle, AMS Offer GmbH, to place the new offer.
The German finance ministry has said it would examine whether it would be appropriate to change the corresponding paragraph of the law regarding one company making a second bid for another.
(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Additional reporting by Joern Poltz in Munich; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)