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MAN

MAN drops Scania bid

German engineering conglomerate MAN said on Tuesday it had decided to drop its hostile €10.2-billion-euro takeover bid for Swedish truckmaker Scania with a view to securing a friendly tie-up instead.

Negotiations between MAN and Scania’s main shareholders, German car giant Volkswagen and Swedish holding company Investor, “have shown that there is an industrial logic behind a combination of MAN, Scania and Volkswagen Heavy Trucks,” MAN said in a statement.

“However, it is not possible to achieve such a combination by way of MAN’s current offer for Scania, which is due to close on January 31 and which has been rejected by both VW and Investor,” the statement said.

“In light of this, MAN has decided not to amend the terms, conditions or timing of its offer. As a consequence, MAN will seek the approval of the Swedish Securities Council to withdraw the offer as it is clear that the conditions of the offer will not be met by January 31.”

Instead, MAN, as a shareholder of Scania, “is looking forward to entering into further discussions during 2007 to seek a friendly combination of MAN, Scania and Volkswagen Heavy Trucks.”

At the same time, MAN would “continue to focus on developing its present businesses and to explore other opportunities to achieve greater efficiency through scale thereby increasing value to our shareholders,” it added.

MAN officially launched a 10.2-billion-euro bid for Scania on November with the aim of creating Europe’s biggest truckmaker.

But the Swedish group and its shareholder Investor have so far rejected the German company’s advances.

And VW, which holds major stakes in both MAN and Scania, has said it opposed a hostile takeover and urged the two sides to reach an amicable deal instead.

VW wants an amicable deal so that it can then bring its own Brazilian truck-making activities into the tie-up.

In a statement released in Stockholm, Investor said it welcomed MAN’s decision to withdraw its bid.

As it stood, the MAN offer “neither provided the foundation for identifying the right structure of a combination nor reflected the value or potential of Scania,” Investor argued.

Investor would continue to “support Scania’s successful development as a stand-alone company, but we will naturally evaluate possible industrial partnerships and combinations in order to develop Scania further,” it said.

Amicable talks with MAN and VW were “a priority,” it insisted. “The lapse of the bid provides an opportunity to do so without time pressure,” it added.

VW, the biggest shareholder in both Scania and MAN, also welcomed the latest development, saying that it had always pushed for an amicable solution.

“An amicable solution is the best way to harness the high synergy potential of a merger,” it said in a statement.

Investors welcomed the cessation of hostilities.

MAN shares ended the day 1.66 euros or 2.24 percent higher at 75.76 euros, amid relief the company would not have to fork out 10.2 billion euros for Scania.

VW shares closed 0.30 euros or 0.36 percent higher at 84.67 euros.

FOOTBALL

‘Zlatan is a very intelligent guy and a very proud man’

Manchester United manager José Mourinho is looking forward to working with Zlatan Ibrahimovic again next season after declaring the Swedish striker's contract extension will be a formality.

'Zlatan is a very intelligent guy and a very proud man'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic representing Manchester United in the Boxing Day match. Photo: AP Photo/Rui Vieira

Ibrahimovic, 35, arrived from Paris Saint-Germain in July on a one-year deal with an option for a further year, which Mourinho in November indicated United would look to take up.

After the footballer scored once and made two goals in United's 3-1 win over Sunderland on Monday, Mourinho said the clause had not been activated yet, but would be.

“It is activated in his brain and it is activated also in my decisions and in the owners' and the board's. So it is no problem,” said Mourinho.

Ibrahimovic's goal agains Sunderland means that he has scored 50 times across all competitions for club and country during 2016, the year he retired from international football with Sweden.

“I am not really surprised because he is a very intelligent guy and a very proud man,” Mourinho said.

“He decided to come to Manchester United and to the Premier League, to a club with the level of expectation of Manchester United, in the most difficult league in the world for a striker.

“When he decides to come here, it is because he knows he can do it.”

“When we contacted him and he said, yes, he will come, I was sure that he was not coming here to leave the Premier League without proving himself.”

“To leave the Premier League having failed at Manchester United? No way. When such a guy decided to come, I was completely clear that he would be ready and he is ready for more next season. He will be here again,” said Mourinho.

Ibrahimovic set up Daley Blind to put United ahead in the 39th minute and then ran through to score from Paul Pogba's pass before setting up Henrikh Mkhitaryan for a spectacular 'scorpion kick' volley.

United secured a fourth successive Premier League win, and extended their unbeaten record in all competitions to 11 matches.