Consolidation – Breakthrough in bid for Baan.

The UK engineering and IT giant had a breakthrough in its efforts to purchase Baan when Dutch bank ING agreed to tender its 5.9% stake. ‘ING is of the opinion that the bid made by Invensys is justifiable from a valuation point of view,’ said a bank spokesman. Invensys’ bid, worth EUR760m (£472m), is based on the condition that it receives no less than 95% of Baan shares. But it is understood the company will accept marginally less. ING’s decision as the last big shareholder means that Baan now has until this week to persuade the remaining individual shareholders to sell. Invensys currently holds a 58% stake. The Dutch bank had considered holding on to its stake because it stood to gain more for tax reasons if Baan went bankrupt. Baan’s work council is in favour of the takeover by Invensys despite speculation that more than 1,000 IT jobs will go. Baan has consistently lost money since the end of 1998, falling below original estimations with a loss of $311m in 1999. If the deal goes ahead, Invensys is reported as wanting to incorporate the revamped Baan business in its new Systems and software division.

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