Australian consumer food products company Goodman Fielder rejects US$1.2B takeover offer from Wilmar International and Hong Kong-based First Pacific, says offer too low
April 28, 2014
(The New York Times Co.)
– Goodman Fielder, one of Australia’s biggest consumer food products companies, said on Monday that it had rebuffed a takeover bid by Singapore’s Wilmar International and Hong Kong’s First Pacific Company.
Wilmar — whose biggest shareholders are Robert Kuok, a Malaysian billionaire, and Archer Daniels Midland, the American agribusiness giant — is one of Asia’s biggest agricultural commodities producers and traders.
Wilmar already owns a 10 percent stake in Goodman Fielder, which makes breads, packaged foods and sauces and is listed on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges. It had teamed up with First Pacific, an investment company owned by Anthoni Salim, an Indonesian billionaire, in a bid for Goodman Fielder that valued the company at 1.27 billion Australian dollars, or $1.2 billion.
Wilmar had contemplated a bid for Goodman Fielder two years ago when it made its initial investment in the Australian company, but the two companies were unable to agree on a price.
That appears to be the case still. The Australian company’s board of directors rejected the latest approach by Wilmar and First Pacific as too low, saying in a statement on Monday that “the current proposal materially undervalues Goodman Fielder and is opportunistic.”
The bidders had made an offer of 65 Australian cents per share of Goodman Fielder, representing a premium of 18 percent to where the stock had closed before the bid was made. But Goodman Fielder’s shares slumped in recent weeks after it announced on April 2 that business conditions had deteriorated since February and that its results for the financial year that ends on June 30 were likely to be between 10 and 15 percent below what analysts had been expecting.
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