Ralcorp Holdings believes plans to split in two will offer shareholders more value

Ralcorp Holdings believes plans to split in two will offer shareholders more value

Ralcorp Holdings has again turned down a US$5.2bn takeover bid from fellow US food maker ConAgra Foods.

The latest rebuttal came hours before a deadline set by ConAgra for Ralcorp to enter into discussions elapsed. ConAgra, which had seen Ralcorp reject three takeover bids, including its latest $5.18bn offer, had given its target until 5pm ET to hold talks.

Ralcorp, which has repeatedly said its divide in two would provide its shareholders with greater value than ConAgra's bid, again pointed to the benefits of its proposed split.

The company wants to create two companies - one focusing on its private-label operations and one centred around its branded cereal unit Post Foods - and said the move would "unlock significant value for shareholders".

Ralcorp chairman William Stiritz, who is set to become Post chairman after the split, emphasised his belief that a stand-alone Post Foods could benefit investors. "Post Foods' main asset is its great brand name - it has untapped potential," he said. Looking forward, the management of this valuable asset will not be a combination of the past, but rather it will be creative, imaginative and adaptive in pursuit of shareholder value creation - nothing is off the table. I look forward to spending 100% of my time for as long as it takes to ensure that Post Foods meets its potential with a solid record of success."

ConAgra's offer equated to $94 a share. Ralcorp's stock was down 1.09% at $75.36 at 13:19 ET today.