The big Woolworth-Brascan-Edper three-way takeover battle moves to New York tomorrow for a crucial court hearing that could determine the future of Woolworth and Brascan.
The court will consider what to do concerning a temporary ban imposed Tuesday on completion of a 6.7 million share Brascan purchase by Edper Equities Ltd.
The $175 million share purchase earlier this week on the American Stock Exchange would give effective control of Brascan Ltd. to Edper and would end Brascan's plan to buy the five-and-dime chain through a $1,125 billion cash bid.
The temporary order was issued late Tuesday in a dramatic turn of events. Only hours earlier, Edper completed a two-day buying spree on the Amex in which it bought 6.7 million shares to boost its holding in Brascan to 31 percent from about 5 percent.
Edper said it had the support of holders of an additional 15 percent of the stock and would proceed to force a company meeting to scuttle the bid for Woolworth.
But the quick legal move has left 25 percent of Brascan's stock in limbo waiting for the court decision.
Meanwhile, there are reports that F. W. Woolworth is seeking a "white knight" to ride to its rescue with a friendly takeover bid.
Woolworth management is resisting the Brascan bid as vigorously as Brascan is trying to escape a takeover by Edper.
The Ontario Securities Commission refused to permit Edper of make a bid for Brascan conditional on the dropping of the bid for Woolworth. It also refused Edper's request to keep the bid open for 120 days. Ontario rules set a 35-day maximum for bids.
Unable to proceed in Canada, Edper shifted its efforts to the Amex and after two days of hectic buying seemed to have Brascan wrapped up.