JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s Murray & Roberts said on Thursday regulators have prohibited the construction firm from seeking a merger with rival Aveng Ltd .
In June the Takeover Regulation Panel (TRP) approved Murray & Roberts’ plans to look into a potential tie-up with Aveng while it is a subject of a hostile takeover by its biggest shareholder ATON.
Following the approval, Germany’s ATON submitted an appeal to the Takeover Special Committee (TSC) requesting that the TRP approval be overturned.
On Wednesday the TSC ruled to overturn the TRP approval and prohibit Murray & Roberts from continuing to develop the potential transaction whilst the ATON offer remains in place, the construction firm said in a statement.
“The board is in the process of reviewing the TSC ruling together with its legal advisers and consulting with Aveng. The board will make a further announcement regarding the proposed transaction in due course,” it said.
In a separate statement Aveng said it noted Murray & Roberts’ intention to further engage with the company.
Murray & Roberts has been in tug of war with its top investor ATON since March when the German investment house launched a takeover bid, which was rejected as poor value for shareholders.
Murray & Roberts then proposed an all-share merger with rival Aveng in May, which ATON called it a “poison pill” and a “frustrating” action.
To prevent the potential merger between Aveng and Murray & Roberts, ATON bought a 25.42 percent stake in Aveng.