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July 20, 1987

UNITED SCIENTIFIC SEEKS TALKS WITH THORN EMI AFTER 4.9% STAKE IS REVEALED

By CBR Staff Writer

The trouble with exclusives is that they tend to remain exclusive says the London bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, quoting a wise old bird back at base in New York. So it was reassuring to see the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Times picking up our story that Thorn EMI Plc had been building a stake in United Scientific Holdings Plc and running with it (CI No 726). Thorn’s banker, Morgan Grenfell, acquired the shares for Thorn through one of several nominee companies that it controls, and United chief executive David Fraser has been seeking a meeting with the Thorn top brass. The United share price went soaring at the end of last week, and at 367 pence values the company at a little over $200m. After its drastic slimming exercise, Thorn could afford that, but if Thorn were to make a move, it is unlikely that United would succumb without a fierce fight – and it might well win substantial institutional backing for its desire to remain independent. And City gossip yesterday had United, fresh from its UKP4.3m acquisition of simulator builder Invertron and disposal of its loss-making Rollei camera business, making a major defensive bid attempt of its own.

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