LONDON British maintenance and support services
firm Enterprise Plc ETR.L is in talks with private equity
firm 3i Group Plc over a potential 486-million-pound ($947
million) offer for the firm, it said on Monday, boosting its
The possible 605-pence-a-share offer includes any final
dividend for 2006 and is conditional on agreement being reached
on a number of factors including due diligence and 3i (III.L)
securing financing for the acquisition, Enterprise said in a
"Consequently there can be no certainty that the
discussions will result in an offer being made for the company
nor the terms of any such offer," it said.
A source close to the matter told Reuters the acquisition
could be agreed in a few weeks after due diligence is carried
In January Enterprise rejected a 575p-a-share bid, which
sources close to the matter had told Reuters was from 3i.
By 1320 GMT shares in Enterprise were up 9.6 percent at
582p, off a session high of 600p.
Bridgewell Securities said the possible takeover price
represented a hefty premium over fair value as it puts the
company on a price to earnings ratio of around 17.5 times -- a
full valuation in its view for a company which is in recovery
Private equity firms, which have tended to avoid the sector
due to its low and volatile margins, have shown strong interest
in recent months as strong order books and increasing
investment and demand for infrastructure space boosted the
sector's cash flow and earnings visibility.
In November project management firm AMEC Plc AMEC.L
rejected an approach from private equity firms First Reserve
and Texas Pacific [TPG.UL] after it spurned a takeover move by
Australian engineering contractor Downer EDI Ltd (DOW.AX) early
Enterprise, whose business ranges from utility to telecoms
and public sector maintenance, reported a 22-percent rise in
first-half pretax profit in September on revenue of 303 million
pounds, up 21 percent.
Close Brothers Corporate Finance Ltd. and Gleacher
Shacklock are acting as financial advisers to Enterprise.
(Additional reporting by Mathieu Robbins)