Mannesmann, the German telecommunications and engineering company at the centre of a hostile bid from Vodafone, has decided to accelerate the formation of a separate company for its automotive and engineering businesses.
The company is keen to rush through the flotation of its industrial group by the middle of next year as a means of defending itself against the bid.
The Mannesmann board had already decided to establish a separate company for the engineering businesses, which have a combined worth of between $8.2bn and $9.3bn (£5.04-5.72bn), before the takeover attempt was launched.
The board had intended to wait until early 2001 to complete the demerger, but it will now be pushed forward in an attempt to appear more active to potential investors. This, it is hoped, will boost the company’s share price, making it too expensive for Vodafone to buy.
Mannesmann’s engineering and automotive businesses employ 1,565 people in the UK and 88,000 world-wide. Vodafone has denied jobs would be under threat should the take over be successful, announcing instead that the free flotation would continue as planned.
Meanwhile, Mannesmann has denied reports that rival German component manufacturers, including Siemens, have offered to buy the businesses in a trade sale.