The UK’s Takeover Panel said on Thursday the buyout battle for Wetherby-based hazardous waste management firm Augean plc will enter a formal auction process if suitors Morgan Stanley Infrastructure (MSI) and a group affiliated Ancala Partners and do not make their final bids by September 21.
The board of Augean on September 8 agreed to an increased takeover bid of £356.9 million from Morgan Stanley Infrastructure that topped a rival offer from the Ancala group.
Morgan Stanley Infrastructure raised its offer to 340p per Augean share from the 280p bid it made in July, topping the 325p per share offer from Eleia Ltd, a group affiliated to funds managed by London-based Ancala Partners LLP and investment funds managed by Toronto-based Fiera Infrastructure Inc.
Augean shares are trading around 355p.
The Takeover Panel said the regulator, Augean, MSI and Eleia had agreed to a custom auction procedure different from the default option.
The Panel said: “In order to provide an orderly framework for the resolution of this competitive situation, and in accordance with Rule 32.5, the Panel Executive has, at the request of the parties, established an auction procedure which, assuming that a competitive situation continues to exist, is expected to commence at 17.00 on 21 September 2021 and end during the evening of 22 September 2021.
“The default auction procedure … will therefore not apply.”