Marel pressures Candover Stork bid(3)

Icelandic food processing group Marel has upped its stake in Dutch conglomerate Stork placing pressure on UK buyout firm Candover’s accepted bid.

UK buyout firm Candover’s attempts to buy Stork has been threatened again by Icelandic food processing group Marel, which has upped its stake to 32.16 percent, according to a filing with Dutch regulator Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets.

The Icelandic group is working in partnership with two Icelandic banks Landisbanki and Eyrir Invest.  It is believed Marel is attempting to acquire Stork’s food processing unit, which it attempted to buy from the group earlier this year.

Candover has reflexed the terms allowing it to require Stork at €1.5 billion ($2 billion) or €47 per share. It had initially required an 80 percent acceptance from the Dutch conglomerate’s shareholders but the buyout firm is now allowed to unconditionally waive down its acceptance rate to 65 percent. It has also been offered the possibility to waive-down the acceptance to 51 percent with the approval of Stork’s board. The acceptance deadline for the offer is September 4.

However, it may be difficult for Candover to buy Stork because both Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd with a 5.42 percent stake and US fund manager Columbia Wanger Asset Management with 4.5 per cent, have said the buyout firm’s offer undervalues the company, according to UK newspaper Financial Times. Therefore Candover is unlikely to receive the 65 percent it needs to acquire the company unconditionally.

The buyout firm has had consistent support for its bid from hedge funds Centaurus Capital and Paulson which are committed to its bid with a 33 percent stake.