France’s Ingenico says board can’t accept takeover bid

PARIS (BestGrowthStock) – French payment services provider Ingenico (INGC.PA: ) said on Sunday its board held talks with a potential bidder, but the would-be buyer could not make a binding offer it could accept.

The company said that it had requested trading of its shares to resume on Monday after it was suspended on Friday ahead of the disclosure of the offer worth 1.44 billion euros ($1.92 billion).

The non-binding approach came from U.S. industrial conglomerate Danaher Corp (DHR.N: ), a person familiar with the matter said.

“The board of directors of Ingenico, after receiving a non-binding offer on December 14, 2010, has reviewed the content and the terms with the Acquirer,” the company said in a statement on Sunday.

“At this stage of the discussions, the latter has not been in a position to submit a binding offer that could be accepted by the board,” it added.

The source familiar with the situation said that Danaher Chief Executive Larry Culp had flown to France in recent days to discuss a possible deal for Ingenico, whose biggest shareholder is Safran (SAF.PA: ), the state-backed French defense company.

But the source added that Danaher, which is being advised by Deutsche Bank, felt unable to submit a binding offer after Safran made a last-minute demand that it retain a minority stake following any takeover.

French business newspaper Les Echos reported Safran considered the price too low, and that the French state, which holds a 30 percent stake in Safran, was opposed to a deal because Ingenico had strategic technology that it did not want to pass into foreign hands.

Ingenico said on Friday it had received an all-cash offer priced at 28 euros per share, or 9.6 percent higher than the closing price on December 13. The stock last closed on Thursday at 27.59 euros.

France’s Ingenico says board can’t accept takeover bid