Mumbai: India’s largest integrated offshore services provider Great Offshore Ltd has filed at least 60 caveats in all the courts of Mumbai jurisdiction to guard against potential acquirers Bharati Shipyard Ltd and ABG Shipyard Ltd.

Great Offshore made the move to be able to present its case before courts if either of the two suitors opt for litigation during the acquisition process.

The caveats, which are an advance intimation of caution, are a precautionary measure to ensure that day-to-day operations and the normal course of business will not be a disrupted in case of litigation.

Acquisition tussle: An ABG Shipyard facility in Surat. The shipmaker is in a bidding war with Bharati Shipyard for Great Offshore. Ashesh Shah/Mint

“We have filed caveats against all the seven persons mentioned in the public announcement issued (on) behalf of Bharati Shipyard on 2 June as well as eight persons named in 22 June of ABG Shipyard in three different departments of Bombay high court and the Bombay civil and sessions court," he said.

Shipmakers Bharati Shipyard and ABG Shipyard have been in a bidding war for Great Offshore, originally promoted by Vijay K. Sheth. Both firms have raised their offers several times since May, when Bharati Shipyard’s promoters acquired a 14.89% stake in Great Offshore after Sheth forfeited his pledged shares. Bharati Shipyard paid Rs315 each for the pledged shares.

“This clearly indicates that the current management is independent irrespective of the future owners," said a shipping expert, who did not want to be identified. “Also, there were many instances that a company approached court when it failed to....acquire a firm. These legal battles might impact the routine business of the target company."

On 16 September, Bharati Shipyard upped the ante by picking up an additional stake in Great Offshore that took its holding to 22.48%. Its highest purchase was at Rs560 a share, making that the lowest level for its open offer. ABG currently holds an 8.29% stake.

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