BusinessCompany NewsSmith & Nephew scraps £5.6bn takeover

Smith & Nephew scraps £5.6bn takeover

Options backdating scandal at acquisition target Biomet leads to S&N withdrawing its billion-pound tender offer

Smith & Nephew
has abandoned its $11.9bn (£5.6bn) bid for a major US prosthetics maker after
its prospective target had to delay the release of its interim results in the
wake of an options backdating probe.

The UK corporate had been touted as the frontrunner to acquire
Biomet but the deal fell
through after S&N learnt of the scandal.

Biomet has now been bought by a private equity consortium for $10.9bn.
‘There is no set of audited accounts on which a public company buyer can
rely,’ a source close to the takeover process told The Guardian. ‘A
private equity company doesn’t quite have the same obligations as a public
company.’ 

More than 150 US companies have started investigations into possible
instances of the practice, which manipulates executive earnings by choosing an
option grant date at which the stock value was relatively low as a reference
point, giving shareholders an inflated view of a company’s prosperity.  

Apple was the
most recent high-profile corporation to concede that it would have to delay its
results as it conducts a probe into its accounts.

Related links:

Apple bruised by options scandal 

More stock probes shake industry  

McAfee chief quits over stock option
scandal

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