Geo Week News

November 26, 2013

Bidding war intensifies for satellite positioning firm


Swedish 3D imaging co. acquires 27% stake in Veripos, as Topcon, Siem boost offer

Topcon Corporation and Siem Industries Inc. on Wednesday raised a joint offer to acquire Veripos Inc., a manufacturer of satellite navigation and positioning systems for offshore oil companies, a day after 3D measurement and visualization firm Hexagon AB acquired a 27.4 percent stake in the Norwegian firm.

The bidding war intensified this week after Hexagon’s takeover bid for Veripos, offered last month for $152 million (NOK 910 million) in cash, or NOK 28 per share, expired on Monday. Stockholm, Sweden-based Hexagon upped its offer Tuesday to NOK 34 per share, purchasing over 9 million shares of Veripos, and contemplating an overall 33.33 percent stake.

Japan-based Topcon, a major positioning and navigation firm, and Siem Industries Inc., Veripos’ largest shareholder, had already trumped Hexagon’s original bid by offering Veripos shareholders NOK 30 per share in cash – a 7 percent premium over Hexagon’s bid. On Wednesday, Topcon and Siem offered NOK 35 per share.

Veripos had been spun off from Siem’s subsidiary Subsea 7 Inc. in July 2012, when Siem became Veripos’ largest shareholder with 21 percent ownership. Siem operates through its subsidiaries serving the oil and gas, ocean transportation and shipping industries.

Veripos’ products and services include navigation and positioning hardware and software for segments of the offshore industry, including seismic exploration, survey and construction, dynamic positioning marine and dynamic positioning drilling. Veripos operates and controls its positioning network with over 80 GNSS reference stations.

In a regulatory filing, Hexagon said it was “contemplating” acquiring an additional 3.9 million Veripos shares at NOK 34, and solicited interest from shareholders. If successful in amassing 33.33 percent of the company, it will be required by law to make a bid for all of the company.

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