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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July 2005, 06:08 GMT 07:08 UK
China's Haier out of Hoover race
Haier washing machines in a Beijing shop
Haier is one of China's largest makers of home appliances
China's Haier has dropped out of the battle for Maytag, the US firm behind the Hoover vacuum cleaner.

The fight for Maytag has intensified over the past week after US rival Whirlpool tabled a $1.3bn (748m) bid for the firm.

Whirlpool's $17-a-share offer trumped an earlier bid which was made by Ripplewood Holdings.

Chinese fridgemaker Haier had yet to make a move, but it was thought to be mulling a bid closer to $16 a share.

Crowded shelves

Maytag owns a number of well-known brands, selling goods under the Amana, Jenn-Air, Jade and Dixie-Narco brand names, as well as making Hoover products.

Earnings have suffered, however, as competition in the industry has risen and raw material costs have climbed.

Maytag, which has debts of close to $1bn, posted a loss $9m in 2004. Sales for the year fell 1.5% to $4.7bn.

"Haier certainly liked the idea of buying Maytag, but we believe it learned in the due diligence just how much of a challenge integrating this business would be," said Eric Bosshard, an analyst at FTN Midwest Securities.

Many traders are now expecting a bidding war between Whirlpool and Ripplewood, with Maytag's shares trading above the $17 offer level.

Maytag's board is expected to meet later this week to consider the bids.

Bidders battle for US Hoover firm
18 Jul 05 |  Business
Bidding war seen for Hoover owner
21 Jun 05 |  Business
Chinese fridge maker eyes Maytag
15 Jun 05 |  Business
Hoover-maker leaves Wall Street
20 May 05 |  Business

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