Rockwell Automation rebuffs Emerson’s latest bid


REUTERS: Rockwell Automation Inc on Wednesday rejected rival Emerson Electric Co’s sweetened takeover offer, saying the US$29 billion bid undervalued the industrial automation company and that a merger would dampen its growth prospects.

Milwaukee-based Rockwell said its board of directors was unanimous in concluding that Emerson’s latest offer — about US$2 billion higher than a previous proposal — was “not in best interests of the company and its shareowners.”

Earlier this month, Emerson outlined a plan for a combined “Emerson Rockwell” that will maintain a significant presence in Milwaukee and become an “automation center of excellence.”

Rockwell on Wednesday questioned the strategic rationale for a merger.

A combination with Emerson would “dampen, not enhance, the ability to grow in the evolving industrial automation and information market,” Rockwell Chief Executive Blake Moret said.

“Bigger is not always better for driving growth and value creation,” Moret added.

Rockwell is a leader in so-called discrete automation, helping assemble component parts to make automobiles, household appliances and computer systems.

Emerson’s strength is in process automation, which helps power plants and factories in sectors including mining and cement operate more efficiently.

St. Louis-based Emerson’s latest offer values Rockwell at US$225 per share, split between US$135 in cash and US$90 in Emerson shares.

Shares of Rockwell fell 1.2 percent to US$191 in premarket trading on Wednesday, with Emerson shares were slightly higher.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas; editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)