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Laird Soars After Cooper Industries Says Offer Rejected

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Laird Plc soared the most in more than two decades in London trading after Cooper Industries Plc said its offer valuing the U.K. company at about 493 million pounds ($794 million) was spurned.

Cooper is seeking to combine Laird, the biggest maker of mobile-phone electronic shields, with its Bussmann electronics division, the Houston-based company said in a statement today. The 185 pence-per-share offer, made June 1, is 35 percent higher than yesterday’s closing price. Laird, founded in 1824, rose 38 percent to 188.9 pence at the 4:30 p.m. close of London trading, the biggest jump since at least May 1989.

Cooper’s approach is “opportunistic and substantially undervalues the company and its prospects,” London-based Laird said in a separate statement. Cooper, which employs 2,100 in the U.K., said the combination would create a leader in circuit protection and power-management and would offer “a compelling suite” of electromagnetic interference, radio frequency and circuit-protection products.

“Laird has underperformed and that has created interest from Cooper,” said Dominic Convey, an analyst with Peel Hunt who has a “hold” recommendation on the stock. He called 185 pence “a very reasonable opening shot.” Investors should accept a price of more than 200 pence, Convey said.

Laird has advanced 8.9 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 503 million pounds.

Laird is “undervalued” and its dependence on its largest customer, Nokia Oyj, will probably decline, Robert Owens, a JPMorgan Cazenove analyst with an “overweight” recommendation on the stock, said in a report yesterday.

Cooper Industries was little changed at $60.15 in New York trading.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Altaner in London at daltaner@bloomberg.net; Deborah Hyde at dhyde10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge in London at Ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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