HomeBusinessSpectris axes plan to snap up high tech tool-maker Oxford Instruments

Spectris axes plan to snap up high tech tool-maker Oxford Instruments


The world has changed says Spectris as it axes takeover of rival high tech tool-maker Oxford Instruments


Oxford Instruments saw its shares plunge after a potential buyer pulled out of takeover talks as a result of the war in Ukraine.

Last week, FTSE 250 rival Spectris emerged with an offer of 3100p for each share in the engineering firm in a mix of cash and stock, valuing it at nearly £1.8billion. A merger would have created a FTSE 100 group with a market cap of £4.5billion.

Spectris’ swoop appeared to have found favour with Oxford Instruments, as the firm said at the time that it would be ‘minded’ to recommend the bid to shareholders.

Cutting edge: Oxford Instruments makes components including X-ray tubes, microscopes and etching technology used to make semiconductor computer chips

However, yesterday Spectris abandoned its takeover plans as a result of ‘significant uncertainty in global economic conditions’ created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Spectris boss Andrew Heath said: ‘The timing is no longer right and we have brought our discussions to a close.’

Oxford Instruments said the offer had been unsolicited and it continued to believe it had ‘a clear and compelling strategy to achieve growth’.

However, shares in Oxford Instruments tumbled 22.8 per cent, or 520p, to 1760p following the news, around 13 per cent below its value before the Spectris offer was announced.

Spectris shares, meanwhile, were up 4 per cent, or 99p, at 2557p, boosted by stock purchases from Heath, who snapped up 5840 shares for £148,861, and chief financial officer Derek Harding who bought 4000 shares for £101,818.

Oxford Instruments makes components including X-ray tubes, microscopes and etching technology used to make semiconductor computer chips.

The company was founded by physicist Martin Wood and his wife Audrey in their garden shed in 1959 and was the first major commercial spin-off from Oxford University.

The collapse of the deal is one of the first large London mergers to be scuppered by the conflict in Ukraine.

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