LONDON (Jan. 18)—Tomkins P.L.C., citing a need to have clearer control over future strategic decisions, wants to buy out various Gates family trust holdings, and may spend more than $1 billion to do so. Tomkins´ $1.4 billion purchase of Gates Rubber Co. in 1996 included issuing preference shares to various Gates family members. If these shares were to be converted, the family trusts would own more than 20 percent of Tomkins´ ordinary shares, the company said. "Whilst the Gates family has been and is a most supportive shareholder," Tomkins said in a prepared statement, "it is not inconceivable that the interests of our ordinary shareholders and preference shareholders might diverge in the future, and for this reason we have started a dialogue with representatives of the Gates family trusts to examine mutually acceptable alternatives."
Tomkins mulls $1 billion Gates investment
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