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Viavi’s improved offer is once more dismissed by Exfo

The drama never stops in the crazy world of telecoms test and measurement, with US outfit Viavi persisting with its unsolicited bids for Canadian rival Exfo.

Viavi has chucked $8 per share onto the table, having had its previous offer of $7.50 thrown back in its face a month ago. On the other side of the negotiating table sits Germain Lamonde, who owns 51% of Exfo’s shares and pretty much all of those that confer decision-making power. He wants to take the company private and has offered the remaining shareholders $6 per share. Clearly Viavi’s is the superior offer, but Lamonde’s not budging.

“For the fourth time, I make it crystal clear to Viavi and to my board of directors at Exfo that as controlling shareholder of Exfo, I would not consider any transaction with Viavi, or any other change of control transaction,” said Lamonde in a press release. “Viavi knew full well I would reject any new non-binding, non-executable tentative proposal, which in my view is only intended to create distortion in the current go-private process and is simply aimed at eliminating Viavi’s main competitor.

“I have been clear and unambiguous with Exfo shareholders since June 7 that they have a choice of accepting my formal offer of US$6.00 per subordinate voting share or remaining a public company. My position has not changed since then and nor will it change, no matter how many times Exfo’s primary competitor tries to interfere in the process for its own benefit.”

The language used in corporate tussles like this is often disingenuous infantile. Of course Viavi is acting ‘for its own benefit’, that’s all companies ever do, as is Lamonde by rejecting the offer. It does seem odd, however, that the rest of Exfo’s shareholders are having a 25% lower offer imposed on them. It will be interesting to see if they have anything to say about it at the special meeting on 13 August, especially if Viavi raises its bid once more before then.

Perhaps the most important thing the two companies have in common is their instance on writing their names in block capitals. This is an insidious and pernicious threat to grammar, aesthetics and common-sense, and at Telecoms.com we’re proud to take the lead by insisting on the standard use of lower-case that seems to be sufficient for most company names. Some, such as Arm, even decided to retreat from block capitals even though they had a perfectly good acronym to start with. Hilariously, Lamonde dissed Viavi by failing to capitalise its name in his statement. Go on, son.

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