Wassall’s quest to buy cables and construction group BICC suffered a major setback late last week after the Takeover Panel ordered it to make a bid for the business or leave it alone.
The Panel’s order follows months of speculation that Wassall would make a hostile offer for BICC, a move it has so far refused to consider.
It has made several approaches to BICC over the past few months at prices ranging from 90p to 125p a share – valuing BICC at up to £746m.
BICC shares stood at just 58p before bid speculation started last November. The most recent offer came last week but was again rejected.
Wassall said it still hoped an institutional shareholder might emerge to support its interest but that otherwise it would not table a formal bid.
The group previously said it would only bid for BICC if it put off the planned £275m disposal of its cable business to US-based General Cable.