Marine Harvest ASA (MHG), the world’s biggest salmon farmer, raised its takover bid for Norwegian fish-food maker Cermaq ASA (CEQ) and said it abandoned an even larger offer after talks between the companies failed to reach an agreement.
Marine Harvest offered 8.6 shares and 53.25 kroner in cash for each Cermaq share, or 107 kroner apiece based on yesterday’s closing price, according to a statement today. The offer, which values Cermaq at 9.9 billion kroner ($1.7 billion) is conditional on getting acceptances from at least 50 percent of shareholders, the company said. It already owns 5.4 percent.
The company, controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen, said it scrapped a plan to boost its original offer by more than 8 kroner a share and raise the portion settled in shares after it failed to receive support for such an offer from Cermaq’s board. The Norwegian government owns 43.5 percent of Cermaq.
Marine Harvest, which is seeking to expand its fish feed operations, originally offered 105 kroner a share, including a 1 krone dividend. Cermaq makes feed and also operates salmon farms in Chile, Canada and Norway. The bid was conditional on Cermaq canceling a 3.5 billion-krone takeover of Copeinca ASA. (COP) That takeover was rejected at shareholders meeting last week.
Cermaq fell as much as 3.1 percent to 108 kroner after the offer, and traded at 109 kroner as of 9:23 a.m. in Oslo. Marine Harvest shares were down 1 percent at 6.185 kroner.
“In regard to the board’s evaluation of the voluntary offer now to be launched by Marine Harvest, the board is maintaining its conclusion that such offer significantly undervalues Cermaq,” Cermaq said in a separate statement.
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