Emerson Abandons Takeover Proposal -- WSJ

By Allison Prang Features Dow Jones Newswires

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (November 29, 2017).

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After making multiple offers to buy Rockwell Automation Inc., Emerson Electric Co. said Tuesday it was rescinding its offer because of the target company's board's "unwillingness to engage in discussions."

Emerson had tried three times to buy the Milwaukee-based Rockwell. An offer rebuffed earlier this month called for Emerson taking over Rockwell at $225 a share -- 60% in cash and 40% in stock -- for a total value of about $29 billion at the time.

The latest offer compared with a $215-a-share offer put forward in October and one in August valued at $200 a share. Both offers were equal parts cash and stock.

St. Louis-based Emerson thought the deal would help accelerate its growth. The Midwestern companies' product lines also complement one another.

"Instead of engaging in constructive dialogue, the Rockwell Board decided to let this unique and value-generative opportunity go unexplored," said Emerson Chief Executive David Farr in prepared remarks.

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Shares of Rockwell rose 1% in early trading Tuesday, while Emerson shares rose 2.6%.

In a letter sent earlier this month to Mr. Farr, Rockwell CEO Blake Moret said his company considered the deal but decided that the proposal wasn't in the best interests of the company or its shareholders.

Rockwell said Tuesday its board and management team "are committed to the execution of our strategy."

"While Emerson may see this proposed acquisition as necessary to enhance its growth and earnings potential and expand its capabilities in the industrial automation and information market, Rockwell Automation does not," Mr. Moret said in the letter.

Emerson and Rockwell have a combined market capitalization based on current values of more than $64 billion.

Rockwell's strength is in so-called discrete products used in areas including auto assembly, packaging and printing, while Emerson excels in so-called process-control equipment for power plants, oil-and-gas facilities and the like.

Write to Allison Prang at allison.prang@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 29, 2017 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)