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June 25, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

A couple of weeks ago industrial process control systems specialist Foxboro Co of Foxboro, Massachusetts said it was up for sale (CI No 1,445), now it has announced that the UK engineering group Siebe Plc has made an agreed $656m cash offer for it. Siebe is bidding $52 a share for 12.6m outstanding common shares in Foxboro. The tender offer will begin on June 29 courtesy of Lazard Freres & Co. Gary Willis, chairman of Foxboro, said he had been seeking a strategic alliance with Siebe for some time because of its business in industrial instruments, commercial heating, ventilation, air conditioning and building management systems. Siebe is also in a joint venture with IBM called Robertshaw Intelligent Building Systems Ltd which fits out offices as intelligent buildings (CI No 1,129). In 1989 Foxboro reported pre-tax profit of $1.5m on turnover of $598m, and on Friday its shares closed at $38. Foxboro will be merged with Siebe’s US subsidiary Siebe Inc, and Siebe intends to float some of the equity of that subsidiary in the US. This flotation will help restore some of the borrowings for the acquisition – borrowings which will leave Siebe with gearing of about 100%. After the acquisition the revenue derived from the US will rise to 75% from 60% now. The City did not take the news well and Siebe shares fell 21 to 507 pence yesterday afternoon.

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