Enterprise confirms bid talks with 3i

Enterprise, the provider of maintenance services to utilities and local authorities, on Monday confirmed it was in talks with private equity group 3i over a possible £486m bid, sending its share price sharply higher.

It said the potential offer of 605p a share would include any final dividend in relation to the year ended December 31 2006.

Enterprise last November gave a management team led by Owen McLaughlan, chairman and chief executive, and Neil Kirkby, finance director, permission to explore a buy-out, but in January rejected 3i’s initial proposal of 575p a share on the grounds that it undervalued the group.

The company asked non-executive directors Nick Woollacott and Alistair Hetherington to form an independent committee to consider offers.

Shares in Enterprise rose 9 per cent to 580p in lunchtime London trading, having earlier reached a high of 600p.

In a statement, Enterprise said any offer would be conditional on agreement being reached on certain terms, satisfactory due diligence, securing financing, and a formal recommendation by the independent committee.

There was no certainty that a formal offer would be made, it added.

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