Rockwell rejected $27 billion Emerson takeover bid

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation's Milwaukee headquarters.

Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation Inc. has rejected a takeover bid by St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co. that would have totaled about $27 billion.

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation’s Milwaukee headquarters.

The unsolicited proposal to acquire Rockwell for $215 per share, half in cash and half in stock, was received Oct. 10, Rockwell said. Trading of Rockwell stock was temporarily stopped this morning after a CNBC report of the situation first emerged. Rockwell shares were up 12.7 percent, and Emerson shares were down slightly.

This was the second offer Rockwell has received from Emerson, the company said in a release. Emerson made a bid of $200 per share, also half cash and half stock, on Aug. 2.

Rockwell said it carefully considered the offers, but the board decided the acquisition would not be in “the best interest” of Rockwell or its shareholders.

“The Rockwell Automation board of directors and management team are committed to serving the best interests of the company and Rockwell Automation shareowners, and are confident in the company’s strategic direction and our ability to continue delivering superior levels of growth and value creation,” said Blake Moret, president and chief executive officer of Rockwell.

Emerson, which makes process control systems, electric motors, climate and power technologies and industrial automation, is the parent company of Racine-based InSinkerator, which is planning a new $34 million headquarters and lab facility in Mount Pleasant. Emerson confirmed the “private offer” to Rockwell, and said there are no ongoing discussions.

“Emerson remains a disciplined acquirer and will only pursue transactions that are in the best interests of its shareholders,” its statement said.

Rockwell Automation makes industrial automation equipment. It has about 22,000 employees, and customers in more than 80 countries. It reported a third quarter profit of $216.9 million, up from $191 million in the third quarter of 2016, and its revenue was up 8.5 percent to $1.6 billion.

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.