Aryzta has received what the Europe-based bakery giant has called a “proposed” bid from US fund Elliott Management to buy the business.
In a stock-exchange filing this morning (23 November), the Swiss-Irish group said the fund’s Elliott Advisors (UK) Limited had sent the croissants maker “a non-binding letter” in which the investment firm had “proposed making an offer”.
The prospective bid was set “at CHF0.80 per share, subject to certain conditions, some of which cannot be satisfied as a matter of fact, and to Elliott being able to secure refinancing for Aryzta”, the bakery supplier said.
On Friday afternoon, Aryzta called a news report it had received a takeover bid from Elliott “speculation”. Earlier in the day, Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, said Elliott had tabled a new offer for the Swiss-Irish manufacturer.
just-food understood Elliott had made a bid, although the US investment firm, however, declined to comment.
Today, Elliott issued a statement to confirm it made a proposal to the Aryzta board on Wednesday to buy the company “for an indicative price of CHF0.80 per share”.
The fund added: “This followed several months of work conducted with the support of the Company and its board of directors. We also note press speculation regarding the financing for such an acquisition and the refinancing of the Company. We confirm that the financing of the potential offer is available and that refinancing arrangements for the company’s existing debt are at a very advanced stage. We require the board of directors’ recommendation of our potential offer and the company’s support to finalise our refinancing arrangements.”
Last month, Aryzta said talks with Elliott Advisors (UK) about a potential takeover of the company had “concluded” without any offer being made.
In September, Aryzta had announced it was in “advanced discussions with Elliott about a potential public tender offer for all the outstanding shares of Aryzta”, adding: “There is no certainty that those discussions will result in any offer being made. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”
On Thursday, Aryzta announced Kevin Toland, its chief executive for three years, would “cease his role” immediately. Zurich-listed Aryzta did not provide a reason for Toland’s departure.
Toland has been continuing the process of his predecessor Owen Killian in offloading assets deemed non-core during his tenure, but two of Aryzta’s largest shareholders have been pressing for more, along with calls for a revamped business model to turn around its financial performance.
The former Glanbia executive, who joined Aryzta in 2017, has also overseen a change in the board of directors in recent months which included the appointment of Urs Jordi as chair. Jordi will now sit in the CEO position on an interim basis until a new chief is found.
Aryzta said last week it had hired US-based investment bank Houlihan Lokey and financial services firm Alantra to review potential asset disposals. “Such disposals will allow the company to simplify its business model by concentrating on core markets and core businesses,” the Swiss-Irish bakery business said at the time.