Wood extends ‘put up or shut up’ takeover deadline

Wood CEO Ken Gilmartin

Aberdeen-based global engineering and consulting giant Wood Group said on Monday it has extended the “put up or shut up” takeover offer deadline for New York-based private equity firm Apollo Global Management to May 17.

Wood shares rose about 7% to around £2.27.

Apollo said on April 4 it made a “final” and “possible offer” for Wood Group pitched at £2.40 per share in cash, valuing Wood at £1.66 billion.

In a stock exchange statement on Monday, Wood said: “The board remains confident in Wood’s strategic direction and long-term prospects, following a transformative year in 2022, including new executive leadership and a new strategy.

“However, having now weighed all relevant factors, particularly feedback received from Wood shareholders, the board has decided to engage with Apollo to see if a firm offer can be made on the same financial terms as the final proposal.

“Accordingly, the board will grant Apollo access to due diligence materials.”

One of Scotland’s biggest companies, Wood operates in more than 60 countries and employs 35,000 people.

Wood added: “The final proposal is subject to a number of pre-conditions, including satisfactory completion of due diligence.

“The final proposal is also subject to a number of reservations, under which Apollo can make an offer on better or less favourable terms, as further described in Apollo’s announcement …

“Apollo has stated to the board that it values the skills and capabilities of Wood’s employees and believes the company is well positioned in its markets and at the forefront of the energy transition and industrial decarbonisation.

In accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code, Wood has requested and the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers has consented to, an extension to the date by which Apollo is required either to announce a firm intention to make an offer for Wood in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or to announce that it does not intend to make an offer, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies.

“Such announcement must now be made by not later than 5.00pm on 17 May 2023. This deadline can be further extended by Wood, with the consent of the Takeover Panel in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code. 

“There can be no certainty that any offer for Wood will be made. Further announcements will be made as appropriate.”