Elliott Advisors, the US private equity fund, has ramped up the pressure on the Aryzta board by tabling a binding takeover proposal of almost €0.75 per share to acquire Aryzta outright, which would value the bakery giant at close to €735m.
By tabling this binding offer, Elliott hopes to force the Aryzta board to discuss the potential sale of the company with its shareholders. The Aryzta board said it would ‘carefully consider’ the offer in line with its fiduciary duties.
Several large shareholders in Aryzta have already voiced their opposition to any sale of the company and are calling for Aryzta chair Urs Jordi to move ahead with his turnaround plan for the bakery company. London-based Lodbrok Capital, a significant shareholder in Aryzta, argued that the takeover offer should not be decided by the current board of Aryzta, with many current board members not up for re-election to the Aryzta board at its AGM next week.
Elliott’s first takeover approach for Aryzta was rebuffed by the Aryzta board after it said the private equity group had failed to secure refinancing on Aryzta’s net debts of more than €1bn.
It’s understood Elliott’s latest offer includes financing agreements on Aryzta’s debt with as many as seven banks. Additionally, Elliott rejected any speculation that its takeover offer was subject to Aryzta’s AGM being postponed.
The future of Aryzta is likely to be decided by next week. If the proposed board changes go ahead it’s difficult to see how Elliott’s takeover approach can succeed.