Will ABB buy Rockwell?

According to a report published on Forbes.com, ABB is flush with cash and ready to go shopping. After posting a 13.6 percent operating margin last year, ABB finds themselves with a warchest of US$10 billion, and is looking around. The report said that the Board of ABB will decide on July 24th to review strategy on whether to make an offer for France's Legrand or for Rockwell Automation. According to the report, ABB will acquire rather than use the money for a stock buy-back program in 2008 and 2009. Looking at the two, if ABB wants to grow by acquisition, Legrand makes the most sense. They have products that ABB is weak in, or doesn't have. If ABB wants to grow by killing a powerful competitor, and get large enough to go heads' up with Siemens globally, then Rockwell is the better choice. The question is, are Legrand or Rockwell vulnerable? Legrand has had excellent financial results for the past few quarters, as has Rockwell. After some rockiness last year with Wall Street's analyst core, Rockwell appears to have made its new "automation pure play" position clear. Both Legrand and Rockwell are busy shoring up their stock prices with active buy-back programs, and both are cash-rich. Neither appears to be a willing takeover target for ABB. But US$10 billion speaks. Stay tuned.

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  • Hope ABB doesn't buy RA, hate to see yet another merger and fewer competitors.

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  • Heard the rumors and can see it makes sense from a 'business' perspective. Also can now see the validity of a lot of RA's internal decisions and policy implentations.

    For ABB either would be a good acquisition. Both are good companies with huge growth prospects, it will depend on which way they want to grow their business.

    Am watching the development with interest ... and waiting ...

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