ZF Drops Haldex Takeover Bid After Investors Spurn Lower Offer

  • German company’s deal hinged on 50% of Haldex shares tendered
  • Bid’s failure opens way for Knorr-Bremse’s higher offer

ZF Friedrichshafen AG is dropping its 5.29 billion-krona ($610 million) offer to buy Haldex AB after failing to achieve its target of 50 percent acceptance from the Swedish truck-brake maker’s shareholders.

Investors tendered 4.24 million Haldex shares, or less than 9.6 percent the total, the Friedrichshafen, German-based auto-parts maker said Wednesday in a statement. ZF, which acquired another 21.7 percent stake outside of the offer, said it “remains committed” to Haldex’s success.

“We look forward to constructive talks with the other shareholders of Haldex over the future development of the company,” ZF Chief Executive Officer Stefan Sommer said in the statement.

The German company is the loser in a takeover battle for Stockholm-based Haldex that started in July. The bid’s failure opens the way for German competitor Knorr-Bremse AG to acquire Haldex at 125 kronor a share, 5 kronor more than ZF’s offer. Even so, the Swedish company’s board and a nationalshareholders’ association both supported ZF because its deal had already received regulatory approval.

Knorr-Bremse said separately that the lack of investor support for ZF’s bid “confirms our view on the superiority of our offer,” and that it’s confident of receiving antitrust clearance for a Haldex takeover. Knorr-Bremse reiterated that its bid expires on Dec. 5.

The battle over Haldex is part of a broader push by partsmakers to combine to share development costs and offer larger component packages amid an industry shift toward self-driving and electric-vehicle technologies. Closely held ZF bought U.S. supplier TRW Automotive last year for $12.9 billion, and has said since then that it would make further purchases.

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