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October 9, 2020

Minerva ditches plan to sell Athena Foods stake to investment vehicle

Brazilian meat processor Minerva's has updated the market on its plan to sell a stake in its Chile-based subsidiary Athena Foods to a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

By Leonie Barrie

Brazilian meat processor Minerva’s plan to sell a 25% stake in its Chile-based subsidiary Athena Foods to a Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) for US$200m has been cancelled.

Minerva revealed the plan last month but in an announcement today (9 October) the company said that it has terminated all discussions in relation to the possible deal.

The identity of the SPAC has not been disclosed and nor has Minerva given a reason for the volte-face. 

Last month, Minerva said the proposed deal was “part of its ongoing efforts to maximise long-term value for its shareholders”.

It said it had entered a non-binding letter of intent with the investment vehicle with respect to a possible business combination with Athena Foods. 

Minerva said the SPAC intended to offer additional equity pursuant to a private placement to raise gross proceeds of up to $100m.

Once the transaction was complete, Minerva expected to hold approximately 75% of the surviving entity and receive cash of approximately $200m for the remainder.

Minerva has been conducting a strategic review of alternatives for Athena Foods after pulling a planned IPO for the subsidiary last year.

It cancelled the listing on the Chilean stock exchange – the Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago – due to “adverse” conditions in global stock markets. The plan had been in the pipeline since the summer of 2018.

Reports at that time said Minerva was aiming to raise as much as $400m through the sale of a stake in Athena, cash it was planning to use to pay down debt and buy back bonds.

After today’s announcement, the company said it will “continue to work on generating value to its shareholders through the development of its business plan and remain attentive to opportunities that represent the best interest of all its shareholders and other stakeholders”.

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