Aryzta - board said to be split over takeover bid

Aryzta - board said to be split over takeover bid

A newspaper report is suggesting the board of Swiss-Irish bakery group Aryzta is divided over whether to favour a potential takeover bid from a unit of US activist hedge fund Elliott Management.

The Irish Times, without citing sources, said today (21 October) it understands the group's new chairman Urs Jordi, and two other board members - all voted in at an extraordinary general meeting in September, are keen to engage with other potential bidders for all or parts of the business but cannot proceed as Elliot has been granted an exclusivity period in which to prepare an offer.

The newspaper reports that the baking company - which supplies the likes of McDonald's and Subway - has been approached by almost 20 parties interested in the business.

Aryzta said in early September it was in "advanced discussions" with Elliott Advisors UK. The latest exclusivity deadline is due to expire later this week, according to The Irish Times' sources.

The newspaper reports that the new directors are said to be supported by Legarda Zaragueta, the board representative of major shareholder Cobas Asset Management, which had joined forces with Swiss investment firm Veraison Capital to orchestrate last month's boardroom overhaul. 

But, the paper says, they are outnumbered by five existing non-executive directors, who were part of a decision to enter discussions with Elliott in the first place.

Aryzta declined to comment on the boardroom differences when contacted by the newspaper.

Veraison issued a statement yesterday (20 October) calling on Aryzta and Elliott to provide clarity by the end of this week regarding a potential takeover offer.