Takeover Panel clears path for WPD bid

The Takeover Panel earlier decided to dismiss a last minute appeal by Nomura to disqualify the winning WPD of 365p a share on the grounds that the US-owned group broke the rules of a sealed bid contest last Friday.

The Japanese bank claimed that its rival failed to disclose its winning bid by a 4.30pm deadline.

Last night Nomura withdrew from the fight, and said it was disappointed by the decision.

Shareholders have until September 6 to accept the WPD offer.

WPD chief executive Robert Symons said: ‘We look forward to completing the process as rapidly as possible.’

Hyder chief executive Graham Hawker stated: ‘I welcome the resolution that this offer brings to the uncertainty which has existed for staff and other stakeholders as the future ownership of the business.’

WPD intend to contract out Hyder’s water assets to Unitied Utilities, and add the group’s power distribution network to its business in south-west England.Hawker last year took home £365,000 with a £267,800 basic pay package, James earned £250,000 last year and FD Twamley took home £263,000.

A WPD spokesman said no decision had been made yet over the future of the Hyder board.

Hawker, a qualified public and chartered accountant, has 14,212 ordinary shares and 4,664 incentive shares in Hyder, while chief executive of infrastrucuture and chartered accountant John James has 13,084 shares in the company.

At WPD’s offer price Hawker’s holding would be worth almost £52,000 in ordinary shares and £17,000 in incentive shares. James’ holding would be worth more than £47,000.

The corresponding figures in this week’s Accountancy Age of £5.2m in ordinary and £1.7m in incentive shares for Hawker, and £4.7m for James, were overstated.

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