REUTERS: United Technologies Corp said on Sunday it made a $2.64bn unsolicited bid for Diebold after trying to hold merger talks with the automatic teller machine maker for more than two years. United Technologies, the world’s largest maker of elevators and air conditioners, said Diebold would make an ”excellent fit” due to its ”strong market position, US footprint, and balance between product and service revenues.”The $40 a share cash offer marks a 66 per cent premium to Diebold closing stock price of $24.12 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. Based on Diebold’s roughly 66m shares outstanding as of May 7, the deal is valued at $2.64bn. Shares of Diebold, which has been under scrutiny by the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission for its revenue recognition practices, have fallen 47 percent over the past year. United Technologies said Diebold told it earlier this month that a merger of the two companies was not in the best interest of Diebold shareholders. Diebold could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday.
PREVIOUSLY: The head of a company vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.” The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O’Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc. — who has become active in the re-election effort of President Bush — prompted Democrats this week to question the propriety of allowing O’Dell’s company to calculate votes in the 2004 presidential election. O’Dell attended a strategy pow-wow with wealthy Bush benefactors – known as Rangers and Pioneers — at the president’s Crawford, Texas, ranch earlier this month. The next week, he penned invitations to a $1,000-a-plate fund-raiser to benefit the Ohio Republican Party’s federal campaign fund — partially benefiting Bush — at his mansion in the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington. The letter went out the day before Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, also a Republican, was set to qualify Diebold as one of three firms eligible to sell upgraded electronic voting machines to Ohio counties in time for the 2004 election. MORE
WIKIPEDIA: United Technologies Corporation (UTC) (NYSE: UTX) is an American multinational conglomerate based in Hartford, Connecticut and is the 20th largest U.S. manufacturer. It researches, develops, and manufactures products in numerous areas, including aircraft engines, helicopters, heating and cooling, fuel cells, elevators and escalators, fire and security, building systems, and industrial products, among others. UTC is also a large military contractor, producing missile systems and military helicopters, most notably the Black Hawk In 2005, it received over 5 billion dollars in military contracts. Helicopter. MORE
RELATED: During the 2004 election cycle, UTC was the sixth largest defense industry donor to political campaigns, contributing a total of $789,561. 64% of UTC’s 2004 contributions went to Republicans. UTC was also the sixth largest donor in to federal candidates and political parties in the 2006 election cycle. 35% of those contributions went to Democrats; 53% of the funds were contributed to Republicans. Several prominent politicians have served on the board of directors for UTC, including: former Sen. Howard H. Baker, Jr. (R-TN), Antonia H. Chayes, former Undersecretary of the Air Force, Charles Duncan, Jr., former Secretary of Energy, Jamie S. Gorelick, former Deputy United States Attorney General, William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense, and Christine Todd Whitman, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. MORE
CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY: From 1996 to 2000, United Technologies spent at least $17.9 million on lobbying and $1.2 million on campaign contributions. Its home state delegation received much of the largesse. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who had been one of the sharpest critics of Reagan-era interventions in Central America, voted to support Plan Colombia. Dodd received more than $38,000 in campaign contributions from United Technologies from 1995 to 2000. The other Connecticut senator, Democrat Joseph Lieberman, got $33,500, and was the biggest single recipient of United Technologies gift-giving during the 2000 election campaign. MORE
2004: What If…