Investor and EQT refuse to raise Gambro bid

The Wallenberg family's Investor and venture capital firm EQT will not raise their bid for Swedish medical technology company Gambro, news agency TT has reported.

The bid has been criticized by a number of Swedish major shareholders, who have demanded more for their stakes. Leading this group has been Robur, which has over recent weeks increased its shareholding to 9.7 percent of votes.

Two American funds with a total of 7 percent of the voting rights in Gambro have also rejected the bid. The views of other shareholders are unknown.

The bid is supported by SEB Fonder, the third AP Fund and Nordea, although Handelsbankens Fonder and AMF Pension are doubtful. In a worst case scenario for Investor and EQT, this means that around 20 percent of Gambro’s shareholders would reject the bid, putting the bidders in a difficult situation.

The bid is worth a total of 38 billion kronor, or 111 kronor per share. But according to information obtained by TT, the two bidders will not raise their offer. The news agency reports that the refusal is due partly to Investor’s and EQT’s wish not to lose prestige and partly because there isn’t enough money available to sweeten the bid.

The deadline for placing bids passed on Wednesday, and it is possible that Investor and EQT might withdraw the bid if they do not receive 75-80 percent of votes.

Investor CEO Börje Ekholm has threatened that Investor and EQT could force a deal even if they do not acquire 90 percent of Gambro’s shares. They could use laws that allow bidders to force a purchase if they acquire two thirds of the shares.

But this possibility is currently being written out of the lawbook by legislators and few believe that Investor and EQT would choose to present such a challenge to the stock market.

The bid for Gambro has formally been made by the jointly owned company Indap, and has been approved by competition authorities in countries in which the bidders are active.

Investor’s information manager Fredrik Kindgren said the bidders would not decide what to do next until Friday or Monday.