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C&W closes in on Thus acquisition

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Cable and Wireless has increased its offer for smaller rival telco Thus Group, as it bids to gain weight for its battles against BT for big business contracts.

C&W's surprise first 165p per share offer for Glasgow-based Thus was rejected by its board early in June.

Today's improved 180p per share bid values Thus at about £330m. Its directors have agreed to put the offer to shareholders this time, but have stopped short of recommending they accept it, saying: "The offer is not such a compelling proposal that the Thus board could give a recommendation to Thus shareholders to accept the offer at this time."

C&W boss Richard Lapthorne said in a statement: "Today's offer represents a generous premium of 64 per cent to Thus' share price before our approach and, we believe, is an attractive proposal for Thus shareholders which unlocks significant value."

Ahead of the shareolders' vote, C&W has gone ahead buying up Thus shares in the open market, and said this morning that it already owns 29.9 per cent of its target. ®

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