Procter & Gamble has revealed Pringles is attracting “considerable interest” as potential buyer Diamond Foods deals with the fall-out of an accounting scandal that led to the departure of its CEO and CFO.
Diamond, which agreed a deal last April to buy Pringles, yesterday (8 February) announced that CEO Michael Mendes and CFO Steven Neil were on “administrative leave” after a company investigation found crop payments worth US$80m were not accounted for properly.
The probe was launched in November and had delayed Diamond’s initial plans to buy Pringles by the end of the 2011. As the investigation was announced, Diamond and P&G said they expected the transaction to close by the end of June.
Although the deal has not been abandoned, in the wake of the probe the US consumer goods giant has been quick to emphasise that other suitors were eyeing Pringles.
“The information released by Diamond Foods is very disappointing. Pringles remains a valuable asset and it has attracted considerable interest from other outside parties. We need to evaluate next steps and we are currently keeping all our options open,” Procter & Gamble said.
Speaking to just-food, a spokesperson for Procter & Gamble refused to be drawn on the identity of the mystery suitors.
He also declined to comment on how long Procter & Gamble’s “evaluation” would take, or whether, ultimately, or not the deal would go through.
“We’re focusing very much on keeping all our options open. I think it’s wholly premature to discuss these things,” he said.
Shares in Diamond, which will have to restate its financial results for 2010 and 2011, were down 37.08% at $23.07 at 10:17 ET.