(Corrects headline and lead to show backed ZF bid is worth 5.29
bln crowns or $617 mln, not 5.53 bln crowns or $650 mln)
* Haldex says deal with Knorr would face antitrust problems
* Backs 120 crown a share ZF bid over Knorr's 125 crown bid
* ZF offer period to precede that of Knorr
STOCKHOLM/FRANKFURT, Sept 19 Swedish braking
systems maker Haldex has backed a 5.29 billion crown
($617 million) takeover offer from German car parts firm ZF
Friedrichshafen, even though it is less than a rival
bid from Germany's Knorr-Bremse.
Haldex said on Monday its board had unanimously recommended
shareholders accept ZF's offer because there was greater
certainty it would go through. ZF has received clearances from
antitrust regulators, while Knorr-Bremse's bid ran the risk of
not clearing all regulatory hurdles, Haldex said.
Knorr-Bremse, which makes braking systems for rail and
commercial vehicles, last week raised its offer to 125 crowns
per share, while ZF upped its bid to 120 crowns, corresponding
to 5.53 billion crowns and 5.29 billion crowns, respectively.
Several German car parts makers have been looking to buy
Haldex, keen on its expertise in brakes for trailers in
particular as they seek to develop integrated autonomous driving
systems for commercial vehicles.
At 0940 GMT, Haldex shares were down 0.2 percent at 127.25
crowns - above both bids and signalling some investors are
hopeful of a still higher offer.
"ZF has announced that it has received all necessary
regulatory approvals and clearances, whereas there is a very
real and material risk that Knorr-Bremse's offer would fail to
complete," Haldex's board said in a statement.
ZF, which acquired U.S.-based TRW in 2015 for $12.4 billion,
makes transmissions and a range of other automotive components.
Haldex's board had previously warned that overlaps with
Knorr-Bremse's business would trigger lengthy antitrust reviews.
Knorr-Bremse Chief Executive Klaus Deller said on Friday he
expected to get the green light from regulators in a "reasonable
time" but would not be drawn on which assets might have to be
sold or when a deal could close.
A spokesman for ZF said on Monday the recommendation showed
its offer was "better overall and quicker to realise".
Shareholders have until Oct. 3 to tender their shares to the
Knorr-Bremse said it had taken note of Haldex's announcement
and stood by its offer but was planning to comment in more
detail once it had reviewed the statement in depth.
It reiterated its full offer was slated to be published on
Sept. 26 and the acceptance period for Haldex shareholders would
run until about Dec. 5.
($1 = 8.5685 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom, Illona Wissenbach, Irene
Preisinger and Ludwig Burger; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark