Glass Raised For NSG After Pilkington Deal

In the Pall Mall boardroom of Pilkington, the glassmaker Nippon Sheet Glass has just bought for £2.2bn ($3.9bn), Yozo Izuhara, the man who drove the protracted deal to its conclusion, admits to a moment of indecision during the tense negotiations.

There was a period of time when I contemplated,” says the chairman and chief executive of NSG, speaking in English, “when I wasn’t quite sure what to do”.That period came some time between November and February, during which Sir Nigel Rudd, Pilkington’s chairman, had rebuffed three informal bids from NSG, priced at between 150p and 158p a share.The polite Mr Izuhara would not take no for an answer, but was having difficulty establishing what would be an acceptable price to the Pilkington board.“The fact of the matter is not that I wanted to abandon the situation but Nigel was not willing to part with the company,” Mr Izuhara says.NSG’s 165p-a-share purchase of Pilkington, which has just been completed, sheds light on the cultural differences that threatened to scupper the deal, one of several in the ongoing series of foreign takeovers of well-established UK corporations.

The 254-page Takeover Code did not present a big obstacle for NSG. More problematic for Mr Izuhara was understanding the whims of his British counterpart.

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