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Belden launches hostile takeover of Canadian electronics firm
[December 20, 2011]

Belden launches hostile takeover of Canadian electronics firm

Dec 20, 2011 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Stock in a mid-sized Canadian electronics firm soared by 67 percent Monday after Clayton-based Belden Inc. launched a hostile takeover offer.

Belden offered $22 in Canadian cash for shares of RuggedCom Inc., a Toronto-area maker of communication networking equipment and software. The offer amounts to $280 million Canadian ($270 million U.S.).

RuggedCom's shares jumped $9.08 to $22.69 on the Toronto stock exchange. The closing price, which is above Belden's offer, could indicate that the market is expecting a higher bid.

RuggedCom said its "preliminary" opinion is that the Belden offer is "highly opportunistic" and "clearly undervalues RuggedCom." The company's board formed a committee to look into the offer and urged shareholders to stand pat until they hear from the board.

Belden's shares fell 83 cents to $31.37 U.S., a 2.6 percent decline.

Belden makes cable, connectivity and networking products for industrial automation, transport, infrastructure uses and consumer electronics.

RuggedCom, a much smaller company, makes networking equipment designed for harsh environments, such as electric power stations, oil refineries, transportation and the military. It is based in Concord, Ontario, near Toronto.

Belden officials said their company and RuggedCom had "highly complementary business models and technologies." Combining the companies would speed growth in the electric distribution and transportation areas, Belden said.

Belden said the offer provided "immediate value" for RuggedCom shareholders and was not contingent on Belden's ability to raise the cash.

"Belden has sufficient cash and previously committed financing in place," Belden said in a news release.

Belden earned $108 million in 2010 on revenue of $1.6 billion. It reported $88 million in profits in the first nine months of this year.

___ (c)2011 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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