R-B sale hits the rocks as due diligence talks collapse

2 January 2001

The administrators of the UK crawler crane manufacturer R-B International, who are trying to sell the business, say that a deal is no longer imminent.

A preferred bidder had been identified in October and the administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers entered exclusive negotiations, expecting to complete a deal by the end of that month.But by mid November the administrators revealed that they no longer had a preferred bidder, and said that they had re-opened discussions with parties that had earlier expressed an interest.

The preferred bidder had been Daniel E. Davis, former president of Favelle Favco (USA) and before that an executive with Manitowoc Cranes in Singapore. It is not clear why he apparently backed away from the deal having begun due diligence proceedings.

November was a key month for Davis. Not only did his attempt to buy R-B break down, for reasons which are not yet clear, but he also secured a continuance in his legal battle in the USA with Favelle Favco, which sacked him last year. Both parties are suing each other and the hearing in the state court was due to begin on 13 November. According to Favco’s lawyers, Davis asked for, and secured, a continuance (postponement). Meanwhile, under separate proceedings, the dispute is also due to be heard in a federal court on 5 February.