Navistar demands VW’s Traton hike takeover bid to $44.50 per share

(Reuters) – Navistar International Corp NAV.N set Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE an ultimatum on Friday, demanding the German firm’s truck unit Traton further sweeten its takeover bid to $44.50 per share, hours before a deadline expired.

Traton 8TRA.DE raised its offer for Navistar to $43 per share last month and set an Oct. 16 deadline for the U.S. truckmaker to accept it.

Traton had no immediate comment about Navistar’s latest demand but shares in Navistar rose 20% to $42.65 after the latest demand. Shares in Traton were up 1.1% at 17.92 euros.

In September, Traton raised its initial $35 per share bid by $8 per share, seeking to raise its stake beyond the 16.6% it already owns, but Navistar said it significantly undervalued the company.

Traton has struggled to win over Navistar’s largest shareholder, billionaire activist Carl Icahn, whose fund held 16.8% stake in the U.S. truck maker, as of June 30, according to Refinitiv Eikon Data.

The U.S. company said in a letter that Navistar’s board asked Traton to confirm that a price of $44.50 per share is a basis for finalization of definitive agreements. Navistar’s board confirmed that an offer of $44.50 per share had the support of Navistar’s two largest shareholders, it said.

Navistar said the $44.50 offer had the support of holdout shareholders, including Icahn, which has only slightly more than Volkswagen, which owned about 16.7% of Navistar as of Sept. 10.

Icahn and two other activist funds, Mark Rachesky’s MHR Fund Management and Gabelli Funds, together own about 40% of Navistar’s shares, according to Refinitiv data.

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