I’ve known Jock Miller for years. A 24lb salmon from the Miller family pond (the Junction pool on the Tweed) adorns my kitchen wall, and when KKR bit his hand off to buy Wassall, the company he built, at the top of the market in 2000, he found himself with enough time and money to indulge his passion for fishing.

Few of us can imagine becoming restless enough with a rod to want to return to the corporate fray, but he not only did so, he persuaded David Roper and Simon Peckham from Wassall to join him for a reprise. The result was Melrose, and the results of buying so-so engineering businesses and turning them into attractive packages to sell to the big boys have enriched their backers again.

One so-so business which his researchers had identified as grist for the Miller mill was Charter International, but it looked too big to take on. Imagine Melrose’s delight when some ugly cracks appeared in Charter’s welding division, leading to a pair of profit warnings and the departure of the chief executive. The shares plunged 25% in a day.

Melrose popped in an opportunist bid at what Charter’s 69-year-old chairman thought was a derisory price. Unfortunately for him, two big shareholders, Aviva and Schroders, are also Miller fans, and  disagreed. After a phoney war lasting the better part of two months, Melrose has raised its indicative £1.4 billion bid by a massive 2.2%, and Charter has agreed to open the books to Melrose’s inspectors.

Unless they find serious flaws in Charter’s financial welds, it’s all over now. There remains the little matter of the £300 million of new equity that Melrose needs to fund the cash part of the bid. With markets so skittish, and the euro crisis likely to re-erupt at any time, this is not a trivial problem. If all else fails, Melrose could remind shareholders that they received £373 million only last month from the sale of Dynacast. Charter is indeed a big fish, but unless he loses it at the net (another buyer would have to be quick) it looks as though Miller is about to land his largest catch yet.