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De La Rue Gets, Rejects Bid From Oberthur, Sky Says

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Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- De La Rue Plc, the world’s biggest printer of banknotes, received and rejected a takeover bid from France’s Oberthur Technologies SA, Sky News reported today, without saying where it got the information.

Oberthur, a Levallois-Perret, France-based maker of smartcards, made an all-cash offer valuing De La Rue at about 750 million pounds ($1.2 billion) in the last few weeks, Sky’s Business Editor Mark Kleinman said on his blog today. It now may make a fresh offer, Kleinman said.

A statement confirming the approach may be made as early as tomorrow morning, according to the broadcaster.

De La Rue, a 200 year-old company based in Basingstoke, England, produces currencies for more than 150 nations as well as security documents including passports and fiscal stamps, according to its website. Oberthur is the third-largest private producer of banknotes, according to its website.

De La Rue rose 1 percent to close at 647.5 pence in London on Dec. 3, giving the company a market value of 641.2 million pounds. The stock has declined 34 percent this year.

Kate Holgate, an external spokeswoman for De la Rue at Brunswick Group, declined to comment when contacted by phone today. Louise Tingstrom, a spokeswoman for Oberthur at M Communications, also declined to comment by phone.

De La Rue became the preferred supplier of banknotes to the Bank of England in 2002 and bought the state’s printing works a year later.

Valuation

In September, it said some employees had deliberately falsified certain paper specification test certificates for certain customers. The company stopped shipments of affected banknote paper as soon as it was aware of the irregularities. On Nov. 23, De La Rue said one major customer who was affected has yet to resume shipments.

A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report last week gave the company a fair value of 620 pence a share, based on “bear-case figures,” the Financial Times said Dec. 1, with a fair value of 830 pence if it managed to retain the deal with its biggest customer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Harrison at mharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dick Schumacher at dschumacher@bloomberg.net

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