Computer Associates (CA) has walked away from a hostile takeover of services giant Computer Sciences (CSC) in a row which ended as bitterly as it started.
The software company said it would let its $9.2 billion hostile bid for CSC expire at midnight on 16 March, leaving almost no chance that it will be taken up by CSC shareholders.
In a letter, CA chief Charles Wang accused his CSC counterpart Van Honeycutt of preferring 'to risk harming CSC's business and in the process diminish its value, rather than negotiate with Computer Associates, despite our repeated offers to engage in a negotiated transaction.'
In a hastily summoned press call, CA said it had made the decision because it believed a long drawn out battle had become likely, and this would be unhealthy for both firms and the industry as a whole.
Wang launched a bitter attack against the way CSC has reacted to the $9.2 billion bid, claiming it has 'waged a campaign of unlawful roadblocks and baseless mud-slinging lawsuits' rather than presenting the offer to shareholders or entering into talks'.
The latest in a string of lawsuits between the warring parties came last week when CSC accused its predator of trying to steal trade secrets to help its takeover offer, via investment bank Bear Stearns. The suit aimed to stop Bear Stearns helping CA with its bid.
But, while the final recriminations and legal mopping up goes on in the public glare, the next priority for CA will be to find another, more receptive partner for its mission to move heavily into services.
At the time of CA's bid for CSC, analysts had predicted that the deal was doubtful because of the software giant's reputation for asset stripping companies it has previously bought. CSC was unavailable for comment (see feature page 39).
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