Apollo sweetens bid for Britain’s Wood Group with $2.1 bln offer

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Apollo Management has made what it said was a final offer to buy John Wood Group (WG.L) for 1.66 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) in cash, after the British oilfield services and engineering firm rejected four earlier proposals.

The 240 pence per share bid represents a premium of about 55% to Wood’s closing share price on Feb. 22, the day before it made Apollo’s proposals public.

Apollo said Wood Group had privately rejected its previous offer of around 1.64 billion pounds, that the firm had made on March 6.

Shares in London-listed Wood Group were down 2.2% at 200 pence at 1516 GMT, much lower than the possible offer price, indicating that investors do not expect the deal to go through.

In December last year, former Elliot Management activist fund manager Franck Tuil had urged Wood to buy back some of its stock to avoid becoming a takeover target.

Wood, which reported a fall in 2022 profits and last year appointed a new CEO who has underlined a new strategy, told Reuters in March that it was well positioned to take advantage of the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act, a green energy subsidy package, given its significant exposure in the country.

Wood separately said it noted the sweetened possible offer from Apollo for the company, and added it continues to engage with its shareholders.

Wood’s stock has gained as much as 45% since it first disclosed the bids in late February.

($1 = 0.7997 pound)

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