John Wood Group is latest target of US private equity predators Apollo

British engineer John Wood Group is latest target of US private equity predators Apollo

John Wood Group last night became the latest British target of private equity predators after a £1.59billion bid was launched by Apollo Global Management.

The engineering group revealed it received three bids from the New York-based giant, including a 230p-per-share offer last month.

It rejected the approaches after ‘careful consideration’, concluding they significantly undervalued the firm. Apollo has a month to decide if it wants to make an offer or it will be banned from doing so under City takeover rules.

Takeover target: John Wood Group revealed it has received three bids from New York-based Apollo, including a 230p per share offer last month

John Wood shares closed up 2.5 per cent, or 3.7p, at 154.7p before news of the bids emerged.

Apollo’s interest in John Wood follows months of speculation the group would become a target as shares hovered at 14-year lows.

Activist investor Sparta Capital warned in December that bosses needed to bolster its share price to avoid a swoop.

John Wood is the latest firm on the London Stock Exchange to fall prey to private equity firms taking advantage of a weaker pound and battered share prices.

On Tuesday US-based Providence Equity lodged a 105p-a-share offer for Hyve Group, which has also struggled since Covid, valuing the events organiser at £306million.

The Footsie has been ravaged by takeovers over the past few years with G4S, the AA, Morrisons and Ultra Electronics being bought.

Last year saw a significant drop in deal-making in the City, as interest rates soared in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But Apollo’s swoop, hot on the heels of the Hyve offer, will add to fears foreign bidders are still on the hunt for cheap British firms.

John Wood helps to build structures including oil rigs and refineries with £5.3billion in annual sales. It was set up in 1982, joining the London Stock Exchange in 2002.