Hope fades for UTC buy of Diebold

The chairman and ex-chief executive officer of United Technologies Corp. said today the industrial conglomerate's takeover of ATM and voting machine manufacturer Diebold Inc. might be unlikely, reports the Associated Press on the News-Times Web site.

"It just sits there," George David told investor analysts at a conference. "I think it's probably less likely rather than more likely at this stage."

David, who spearheaded the deal shortly before he retired as CEO in April, told the analysts that the deal is not likely to happen.

The offer still stands, but UTC is waiting for financial information from Diebold, David said. UTC is the parent company of jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, Otis elevator, Sikorsky Aircraft and other businesses.

Hartford, Conn.-based UTC made a $40 per share cash offer, about $2.6 billion, for Diebold in February. Diebold, of North Canton, Ohio, rejected the offer.

Mike Jacobsen, a spokesman for Diebold, said company executives still believe the offer was "opportunistic and significantly undervalued the company."

Representatives of the two companies have not met to review financial information, he said.

Diebold reported earnings in August, the first time since early last year as regulators review the way the company reports revenue.

David criticized Diebold's management for failing to act on the UTC offer. "I just think there were lots of promises about structure and margin increases and all those kinds of things from a management team that actually hasn't done anything for shareholders for quite some time."

UTC ranks No. 19 on Washington Technology's 2008 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

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