Thursday, 15 March 2018

More on GKN / Melrose

So it's been quite a few days in terms of GKN's continued attempt to fend of Melrose Industries' hostile bid.

Last week saw Melrose get overwhelming shareholder approval for its bid. It will be interesting to dig into Q1 voting disclosures once they are online to see how these votes break down. By that stage we will know if the bid has been successful.

But in the last 24 hours we have seen a significant intervention as Airbus has basically said it would find it almost impossible to do business with GKN in the event of it being taken over by Melrose. That has to be material for shareholders planning on remaining invested in GKN.

In terms of shareholders, Aviva has gone early - before the Airbus news - saying that it supports the Melrose bid, but Jupiter has come out against it. Meanwhile the speculators are still a-speculating. Total disclosed short positions in Melrose slumped back down to about 11.5% earlier this week, but then went back over 13%. I reckon some hedge funds must be getting the jitters.

And there continues to be lots of churn in the GKN register. Check out notifications here and here for example. At one point BoA/Merrill Lynch had almost 13%. To be clear, the banks are not holding all of the shares for themselves. A lot of this will be related hedge fund money - maybe borrowing the stock, maybe getting exposure through derivatives. These are the people that will help decide the fate of GKN workers.  

For what it's worth, I think there is a good chance that the bid will fail now. If it does some of the people who have sought to speculate on the deal are going to lose a fair bit of money,

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