IAWS, the Ireland-based bakery group, has today (4 July) insisted that its offer to buy out the remaining shareholders in Swiss firm Hiestand is "fair and reasonable".

Reports in Switzerland and Ireland have suggested that Hiestand shareholders could launch a lawsuit against IAWS next month in an attempt to force an increase in the company's offer.

A group of disgruntled investors have criticised the premium paid to private equity group Lion Capital, which agreed to sell its stake in Hiestand to IAWS last month.

In June, IAWS announced its plan to merge with Hiestand and create Aryzta, a EUR2.7bn (US$4.2bn) baked goods firm.

The company doubled its stake in Hiestand by buying a shareholding owned by Lion Capital for 12.7m IAWS shares and EUR30m in cash.

Under the terms of the merger, IAWS has offered Hiestand shareholders 36 Aryzta shares for every share in the Swiss firm.

A spokesman for IAWS told just-food that the company stood by its offer, which it described as "fair and reasonable".

Hiestand shareholders are due to meet at an EGM on 19 August.