Mannesmann suffered a humiliating setback yesterday when the High Court in London described its conduct as "totally disgraceful and unacceptable." The German communications company accused its bankers, Goldman Sachs, of collaborating illegally with Vodaphone Aircall on the unwanted bid for Mannesmann, but the High Court rejected the accusations and reserved its criticism for Klaus Esser, Mannesmann's CEO, and Kurt Kinzius, managing director of a Mannesmann division. Kinzius, said Mr Justice Lightman, "signally failed to tell the truth."
Earlier today Vodaphone upped its offer for Mannesmann by 16 per cent to £79 billion, taking the offer from the low end of analysts' expectations towards the high end. The acrimony and court actions suggest that any bid from Vodaphone would be unwelcome to CEO Esser, but the pressure now is on the Mannesmann board to swallow their collective pride. If not, the biggest hostile bid in corporate history is expected to proceed next week.
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