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Gossip circulating last night on the Lazard Brothers consortium being put together to bid for GEC Plc suggested that the offer might be more in the form of a management buy-in, with only limited asset sales envisaged, a key aim being to replace Lord Weinstock with Sir John Cuckney as chairman: the suggestion was that Metsun Ltd would offer a mix of cash and shares and not all cash – the fact that Barclays is looking for UKP3.5m suggests that might be the cash element of a bid nominally worth UKP7,000m or so – and that the consortium would hope to retain GEC’s stock exchange quotation; such an offer would be far more politically attractive to a government that is decidedly underwhelmed by GEC’s defence performance over the past few years, but the team would have to convince GEC holders that they could drive the assets harder than present management; discussion of consortia p3.

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