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TSC clarifies Laas’s ATON gagging order

M&R CEO allowed to speak, but …
Murray & Roberts CEO Henry Laas. Picture: Moneyweb

Murray & Roberts CEO Henry Laas is once again allowed to speak in public about German shareholder ATON’s hostile offer to take over the group, but only on behalf of the company.

This follows after the Take-over Special Committee (TSC) clarified its earlier ruling that: “Mr Laas in his capacity as CEO of M&R is ordered to refrain from making any public statements regarding or concerning the offer.”

M&R said in a statement on Monday morning that the group had requested the TSC to clarify this ruling.

The ruling followed a complaint by ATON against “Mr Henry Laas’s involvement in and apparent coordination of the independent board’s consideration of and response to ATON’s Offer…”

This was part of a broader complaint that the independent board frustrated the offer and failed to properly and duly consider the ATON offer and made misleading statements to shareholders. The TSC found in favour of ATON in this regard.

Moneyweb earlier reported that the Independent Board advised shareholders that the ATON offer of R15 and later increased to R17 per share undervalued M&R shares. The Independent Board indicated that a valuation of R20-R22 would have been fair.

Listen to the podcast: Murray & Roberts opposes ATON buyout offer

According to the M&R statement on Monday, the TSC clarified that: “In so far as Mr Laas is concerned, the ruling prohibits him from making comments on behalf of the independent board with respect to the offer.”

The group said Laas does not speak on behalf of the independent board, but on behalf of the company. “There were no findings by the TSC against Laas in his role as group chief executive”, the group stated.

He will therefore “in his capacity as group chief executive of Murray & Roberts, continue to update all stakeholders regarding the affairs of Murray & Roberts, including in relation to matters concerning the ATON offer process.”

M&R’s shares traded 1.87% lower at R18.35 on Monday morning.

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