UK Take Over Panel extends Akzo Nobel''s deadline for ICI bid

UK''s Takeover Panel has given the Dutch chemicals company Akzo Nobel until 9 August to table a takeover offer for its UK rival ICI Plc, for which it had made a $14.2-billion takeover proposal on 4 June that ICI had rejected on the grounds that it undervalued the company.

Akzo, the world''s largest manufacturer of paints and coatings, had offered 600 pence a share for ICI (See: ICI rejects $14.2 billion cash bid by Akzo Nobel)

Though there has been no formal contact between Akzo and ICI ever since the rejection, the UK- financial daily Financial Times reported that some Akzo managers had been sounding out ICI shareholders about a further offer.

ICI''s pension fund trustees are set to play a crucial role in any deal and will insist that whoever takes over ICI provides enough financial support to the pension scheme to keep its promises to its 71,800 members.

ICI has seen its share price jump 40 per cent in the past six months on persistent speculation that ICI was a takeover target.

Akzo Nobel, which in a surprise move sold Organon BioSciences, its pharmaceuticals division to Schering-Plough for $14.5 billion in cash in March (See: Akzo Nobel sells Organon BioSciences to Schering-Plough for €11 billion) has enough resources to fund the acquisition.