STOCKHOLM -- German braking systems firm Knorr-Bremse said on Friday it had raised its stake in competitor Haldex to 14.9 percent, further intensifying an on-going bidding war over the Swedish firm with Germany's ZF Friedrichshafen.
Several German car parts makers have been looking to buy Haldex, keen on its expertise in brakes for trailers in particular as they seek to develop integrated autonomous driving systems for commercial vehicles.
Knorr-Bremse and ZF are the two remaining bidders, and Haldex has strongly recommended shareholders accept ZF's 120 crown per share bid despite it being lower than Knorr's 125 crown bid, citing possible antitrust concerns with a takeover by Knorr-Bremse.
ZF currently owns a 21.2 percent stake in Haldex.
"The acquisition of a further stake in Haldex again confirms the attractiveness of our offer to the shareholders of the company. It reflects the positive feedback from investors which we received over the last days", Knorr-Bremse CEO Klaus Deller said in a statement.
Haldex Chief Executive Bo Annvik joined ZF's news conference at IAA commercial vehicles trade show on Wednesday and warned that a protracted vetting process for a Knorr-Bremse takeover could cause some customers to jump ship.
"We have clear indications that the recent statements by the management of Haldex with regard to our offer are not shared by a number of investors," Deller said.
Knorr-Bremse, which bought the additional 3.56 percent stake from Carnegie Fonder at 125 crowns per share, also changed its terms for the bid entitling shareholders to compensation in case of a new higher offer.