Melrose blinks, makes way for Colfax's £1.5-bn takeoverof Charter

The hard fought battle for UK engineering firm Charter has been won by America's Colfax after UK-listed manufacturing buyout firm Melrose officially withdrew, clearing the way for the £1.5-billion takeover.

According to Melrose's battle weary chief executive, the landscape had changed so much over the last two months, that the company decided yesterday it would be better to walk away as a of gallant loser than try to do an equity deal in the market.

US company Colfax, which manufactures pumps and valves is owned 41 per cent by billionaire brothers Steven and Mitchell Rales. The company made a surprise entry in the bidding arena for Charter with a 910-pence-per-share offer, that beat Melrose's  £1.43-billion conditional bid.

Melrose's decision to give up brings to an end an increasingly bitter three-month campaign that sought to wrest control of the industrial fans and welding business.

The bid sparked off an unseemly dispute between Charter's two biggest shareholders, asset management company Schroder's Richard Buxton and Aviva's David Lis and Charter's board, headed by Swede Lars Emilson.

Though initially Melrose gained the support of the two fund managers, Charter continued to shun Melrose's advances until it made a third tentative offer of 850p-a-share. Buxton and Lis between them control 17.5 per cent of Charter and had severely criticised  the company's management, including the tenure of Emilson.