GKN Stockholders Defy Board, Reject Dana’s Bid, Approve Melrose Industries’

GKN driveline group
GKN plc

Dana Inc. announced March 29 that shareholders of the United Kingdom-based diversified manufacturer GKN plc voted to accept a rival bid for the company, ending Dana’s pursuit of GKN’s driveline division.

London-based investment company Melrose Industries plc won 52% of the vote and will take over the company, Bloomberg News reported.

“We are, of course, disappointed by today’s outcome and continue to believe Dana would be the best owner and operator of GKN Driveline,” Dana CEO James Kamsickas said in a statement. “This has always been an opportunity, not a required or critical asset. Dana is a strong, thriving company, and we will continue our focus on the execution of our enterprise strategy, delivering for customers and remaining responsible stewards of our shareholders’ capital.”

Earlier, GKN’s board had agreed to sell its automotive unit to U.S.-based Dana in a $6.1 billion transaction aimed at repelling a hostile takeover from Melrose Industries and its $10 billion offer that was subject to shareholder approval.

At the time, Dana called its offer a “transformative and strategic transaction” that would have led to the creation of Dana plc, focused on drivelines and electric propulsion.

Melrose deployed every available tactic to heap pressure on its target — speed, a “take it or leave it” final offer, a low acceptance threshold and, of course, mudslinging. With that approach, it was never going to get GKN board approval for a deal. That meant getting into conflict with stakeholders like the unions and customers such as Airbus SE, according to Bloomberg.

Dana is based in Maumee, Ohio. It supplies steer axles, steering shafts, driveshaft assemblies, engine gaskets, hub systems and a tire-pressure management system that features self-inflating tires.