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Rediff.com  » Business » Tata-CSN battle for Corus set to intensify

Tata-CSN battle for Corus set to intensify

Last updated on: November 23, 2006 19:26 IST

The stage appears set for a battle royale between Indian corporate giant Tata Steel and Brazil's CSN for acquisition of Anglo-Dutch steel maker Corus, with both the suitors reportedly willing to raise their bids.

Tata Steel board of directors on Thursday met at Bombay House, the headquarters of the Tatas, and are understood to have discussed their prospects to acquire Corus Group Plc in the face of a counter offer by CSN last week.

The Indian company had in October made a $8.1 billion takeover offer, but Brazil's Companhia Siderurgica Nacionl SA trumped the Tatas with a slightly higher offer of $8.3 billion for Europe's second largest steel maker.

Investment banking sources said in London that the Tatas are believed to have informed Corus that they are willing to match the CSN bid, provided the Anglo-Dutch company supported them.

Sources, however, clarified that CSN has not yet made a formal bid and it would be premature on their part to react.

The Tatas had made an offer of 455 pence a share, which the Corus board had approved early this month. The issue is slated to come at the extraordinary general body meeting of Corus shareholders on December 4.

Asked about the board's decision and whether the Tatas have communicated their wish to match CSN bid to Corus, a Tata Steel spokesperson told PTI: "We have no comments to offer at this juncture."

Meanwhile, an advisor to the Brazilian company said that financial resources was not an issue for CSN, with the backing of bankers could counter an increased bid from Tata Steel.

However, the Tatas could make public their position only after CSN, which is conducting due diligence of Corus, makes a formal offer, possibly by the end of this month.

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