Williams’ shares plunge after takeover talks fail

Shares in security and fire protection products group Williams dived last week after the company ended takeover talks with US predator Tyco International. The breakdown in talks was blamed on regulatory issues and the likelihood that a tie-up would not achieve the desired cost savings. It is the second time discussions with Tyco have come […]

Shares in security and fire protection products group Williams dived last week after the company ended takeover talks with US predator Tyco International.

The breakdown in talks was blamed on regulatory issues and the likelihood that a tie-up would not achieve the desired cost savings. It is the second time discussions with Tyco have come to nothing in the past nine months.

Analysts ruled out the prospects of a fresh attempt in the future and said the reasons given by Williams for the breakdown were a `weak effort’ to disguise the real cause.

`Regulatory issues are surmountable,’ one analyst said. `I feel this is a smokescreen, couched in terms shareholders will understand. There are not too many other companies like Tyco in the frame to complete a deal with Williams.’

Tyco is expected to cast its net more widely in the UK engineering sector. In February, it acquired 17 metals businesses in Birmingham from Glynwed for £145m. The companies, with 2,200 staff, include most of Glynwed’s original core metals operations.

Williams directors were unavailable for comment.