Schaeffler Sweetens its Bid for Continental

Offer is still below the current value of Continental shares

The German auto parts company Schaeffler Group said July 21 it had sweetened its hostile bid for its significantly larger rival Continental. It said it was now offering 70.12 euros a share for Continental rather than 69.37 euros.

The new offer reflects the average price of a Continental share in the three months prior to July 14, when Schaeffler made its bid public. The new bid would value Continental at about 11.4 billion euros (US$18 billion).

But analysts noted that at 70.12 euros the offer was still below the current value of Continental shares, which closed at 71.71 euros on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Continental rejected the first Schaeffler offer as "highly opportunistic."

The bid is subject to approval by the German stockmarket watchdog but Schaeffler, a family-owned group, is assured of at least a 36% stake owing to shares it owns already plus options it acquired directly and indirectly through banks.

Continental is aiming for sales of 26.4 billion euros this year while Schaeffler posted 2007 sales of 8.9 billion euros.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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