Invensys says bid talks are at an end

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The prospect of another raid on a UK-based technology company receded yesterday after rail signalling firm Invensys said it was no longer in bid talks.

Invensys shares slumped 17 per cent as it cooled recent speculation by confirming that takeover interest from US giant Emerson Electric had come to nothing.

The London-based engineering electronics firm, whose market value soared to around £2bn on Wednesday, is the latest technology business to attract interest from across the Atlantic.

Autonomy and Misys have already been sold to American firms, while Logica has backed a £1.7bn takeover offer from Canada’s CGI Partners and handheld computer maker Psion has agreed a £129.3m deal with Motorola Solutions

Invensys, which employs 3,000 people in the UK out of a workforce of 20,000, develops technologies for a range of sectors including mass transit rail networks, oil refineries and air conditioning.

Its shares dived in January after it warned a series of project delays, mostly involving nuclear reactors in China, would hit profits.

Emerson, which has around 133,000 staff and 235 manufacturing sites worldwide, is likely to have been interested in Invensys’s controls business, which delivers products used in appliances and heating, air conditioning and refrigeration.

Other potential suitors for the company are thought to include Siemens, ABB and General Electric. In response to the speculation, Invensys confirmed “highly preliminary discussions” with third parties over certain parts of the group.