Elliott says Aryzta bid not conditional on having agm postponed

US hedge fund makes fresh €734m bid for troubled Swiss-Irish food group

An Aryzta meeting in Duebendorf, Switzerland, 2018. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

An Aryzta meeting in Duebendorf, Switzerland, 2018. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

 

US investment firm Elliott has provided further details of its latest bid to acquire Swiss-Irish food group Aryzta while denying it was trying to get the company’s upcoming annual general meeting (agm) postponed.

The firm, run by US billionaire Paul Singer, tabled a fresh offer for Aryzta on Saturday that valued the group at €734 million.

In a statement on Monday evening, Elliott said the offer was conditional on the board recommending it to shareholders or staying neutral. It also said the postponement of Aryzta’s agm later this month was not a condition of the offer.

This comes amid market speculation that Elliott was trying to have the meeting deferred as it was likely to result in the election of four new directors, who are likely to oppose its takeover offer.

“The public tender offer for all publicly held shares in Aryzta would be subject to customary offer conditions, which were also negotiated with Aryzta in October,” the statement read. “Elliott looks forward to receiving a response from Aryzta’s board of directors.”

Aryzta, which owns the Cuisine de France brand, ended negotiations with Elliott in October and has been working with advisers to explore asset disposals.

Binding offer

In making a binding offer – its earlier one was non-binding – Elliott is pushing Aryzta’s board to discuss the proposal with investors.

In a statement on Monday, Aryzta said its board of directors would “carefully consider the offer in accordance with its fiduciary duties and processes in due time”.

Aryzta is due to hold its annual general meeting on December 15th.

Lokbrok Capital, which owns more than 4 per cent of the business, said no decision should be made before that date as, it argued, the current board did not represent the interests of current shareholders.

Aryzta also said on Monday that as part of its restructuring, both chief people officer Tony Murphy and chief commercial officer of Aryzta North America John Heffernan would leave the company and their positions would not be refilled.

The group has also confirmed the disposal of its North American take-and-bake pizza product to private equity group Brynwood Partners for an undisclosed sum.