Ilion Group was this week awaiting an official takeover offer from auses to reveal suitors. German conglomerate following a series of trans-continental discussions during the past fortnight, according to sources.
Representatives from Raab Karcher, a subsidiary of the VEBA Group, are understood to have visited Ilion's UK offices during the May Day bank holiday.
Several sources also claimed Ilion board members had travelled to Raab Karcher's head office twice in the past two weeks.
One source within Ilion told PC Dealer: 'We were told two weeks ago that board members were in Germany for a meeting which was strange because they've never held one there before. Then last week, board members all suddenly took annual leave at the same time.'
A source within Raab Karcher admitted meetings between the two parties had been taking place.
Another source said an offer from Raab Karcher, which has investments in Midwich Thame and RK Distribution, had originally been expected on 7 May, but the deadline was extended until 14 May following a dispute.
According to the source, the problem was solved last week but by 17 May, Ilion had not received a formal offer. The source added: 'Ilion is running like hell to get out of the hands of Landis.'
Serge Van Gorkum, chief executive of Ilion this week confirmed the vendor was in preliminary discussions with a number of companies, but denied having spoken to Raab Karcher representatives.
He claimed the meeting in Germany was one of the management's regular business review and strategy meetings and was 'not related' to the acquisition talks. He said it was Ilion's own financial advisers who were at the company's UK office over the long weekend.
As revealed by PC Dealer, Ilion was forced into talks with potential buyers after Paul Kuiken, chief executive of Landis, acquired a 6.63 per cent stake in Ilion from founder and former chairman, Wayne Channon, through Kuiken's private company, Finance IT. It gave him an 11.8 per cent share after ABN AMRO Bank acquired a 5.17 per cent stake on Finance IT's behalf.
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