Rockwell Automation Inc. spurned a third takeover proposal from Emerson Electric Co., saying a sweetened bid of $29 billion still undervalued the supplier of controls for assembly-line operations.
The $225-a-share offer announced publicly on Nov. 16, “presents significant long-term risk for Rockwell Automation’s shareowners, and would create a company that is not well-positioned to compete successfully in the evolving market,” the Milwaukee-based company said on Nov. 22. Rockwell’s board was unanimous in its decision, according to its statement.
The move heightens the tension between the companies after Rockwell rejected Emerson’s two previous tie-up proposals, at $200 a share and then $215 a share. Rockwell, which has attempted to move into the process automation area in which Emerson has a stronghold, has maintained that it is better off alone with its successful Logix product that gives customers a single software platform to build on instead of learning multiple ones.
“Bigger is not always better for driving growth and value creation,” said Blake Moret, Rockwell’s CEO.
“While Emerson may see this proposed acquisition as necessary to enhance its growth and earnings potential and expand its capabilities in the industrial automation and information market, Rockwell does not,” Moret added.
Emerson is seeking to bolster its offerings by adding the leading supplier of software and controls for assembly-line operations. The would-be acquirer provides software and equipment for products made by combining ingredients, such as chemicals, oil refining, pharmaceuticals and beverages.
Representatives of the St. Louis-based company didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
By Richard Clough