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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Saab Bids for Celsius

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Swedish defense group Saab AB said Tuesday it would offer around 5 billion Swedish kroner ($598 million) in cash to buy Swedish rival Celsius, in a move that was backed by the main shareholders of both companies.

Saab said it was offering 179 Swedish kroner ($21.39) per share for Celsius, a 30 percent premium over the closing price Monday. The move follows a plea for increased cooperation from the Swedish government last week as the European defense sector consolidates.

"The new Saab will be the leading Nordic defense company with good prospects for further international cooperation, for instance through British Aerospace, with its 35 percent stake in Saab," Saab said in a statement.

Celsius AB chairman Lennart Nilsson said in a statement that he supported the bid and the company's board of directors would recommend the offer to shareholders. The other main shareholders of Saab, British Aerospace and Swedish investment group Investor also supported the deal.