Mittal Steel has said that it would be willing to improve its hostile bid for rival Arcelor, but only if Arcelor’s board backs the takeover.
Mitall also revealed it has offered Arcelor more places on the board in a merged company and a simplified share structure that would give the Mittal family less power.
Until now Chief executive Lakshmi Mittal has steadfastly refused to raise the offer price. But he did tell reporters in London that any increase would be “marginal.”
Arcelor’s current total market value at 23 billion euros is higher than Mittal’s offer, which is partly in cash but mostly in shares, and is worth 21.7 billion. That is because the shares of both companies have risen in value since the takeover bid was first made in January.
Arcelor has said it would only consider accepting an offer if it were large enough and made entirely in cash. It has also indicated it might meet Mittal if it was given sufficient information to assess Mittal’s intentions and its industrial, social and business plans.
In a further attempt to break the stalemate between the world’s two largest steelmakers, Mittal has hired as a director French billionaire entrepreneur Francois Pinault .
It appears to be a response to opposition to the merger from Paris and Brussels. Pinault has close ties to French President Jacques Chirac.