Candover withdraws its offer for Stork(4)

The UK buyout firm has brought to an end the long-running take-private battle for industrial group Stork and withdrawn its offer, though it is continuing talks.

Candover, the European buyout group, has capitulated in the face of resistance from LME, an Icelandic group of investors, and abandoned its take-private bid for industrial group Stork.

LME, which has reported a shareholding interest in Stork in excess of 43 percent, had indicated it would not tender these shares under the offer from Candover.

Food processing company Marel led opposition to Candover’s €1.5 billion ($2.25 million) bid for the company under the LME banner, which included two Icelandic banks Landisbanki and Eyrir Invest.

The buyout firm had targeted an 80 percent shareholder acceptance of its bid and although this bid has lapsed, a deal may yet still be done.

It said in a statement: “During the past two weeks Candover, Stork and LME have continued their discussions and are now looking at possibilities for an alternative transaction structure, taking into account the interest of all stakeholders in Stork.”

Candover had previously said it could proceed with a bid with 50 percent acceptance and the permission of Stork’s board.

Even this 50 percent target may be difficult to reach, as institutional investors Delta Lloyd Asset Management, with a 5.2 percent stake, and Columbia Wanger Asset Management, with 4.5 percent, have opposed the bid. Delta Lloyd said it believed Stork was worth around €10 per share more than Candover’s bid.