THE battle for Corus, the steel-maker that contains the remnants of British Steel and employs 23,000 people in the UK, is about to turn into a last-minute shoot-out between Indian and Brazilian rivals.
It will be decided over the next 10 days as India’s Tata Steel and Brazil’s CSN manoeuvre in the run-up to the bid deadline of January 30. The Takeover Panel is expected to adjudicate this week on the final rules for the showdown.
Tata is likely to make the first move. It is poised to increase its bid to trump a recommended offer from CSN of 515p a share. The CSN bid values Corus at £5.9 billion, when its debt is included.
It was suggested last week that Tata could try to land a knock-out blow with a bid of 600p a share or more — a much higher level than the 550p a share previously speculated.
It is also thought that Tata Sons, the company at the centre of the Tata business empire, could try to finance an increased offer by selling part of its large stake in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the New York-quoted information-technology group.
But sources close to the Tata camp poured cold water on the prices suggested, saying that they appeared to be too high.
CSN, meanwhile, is ready to trump any last-minute Tata bid.