Bidvest Raises Stake in Acquisition-Target Adcock Ingram to 32%

Bidvest Group Ltd. (BVT), the South African owner of businesses including catering and car dealerships, increased its stake in acquisition-target Adcock Ingram Holdings Ltd. (AIP) to 32 percent, according to Chief Executive Officer Brian Joffe.

The stock purchase makes Bidvest the biggest shareholder in Adcock, ahead of the Public Investment Corp., manager of South African civil servant pension funds, which Adcock said Dec. 24 owns a 22 percent stake.

“We own 32 percent,” Joffe said by text message yesterday, declining to comment further. A spokesman for the company said Bidvest had been a buyer of Adcock shares, without disclosing the precise amount. A spokeswoman for Adcock said she couldn’t comment on share purchases when contacted by phone.

About 39 million Adcock shares traded yesterday, or about 22 percent of its outstanding stock, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s more than 5,000 percent of the three-month daily average. The shares were little changed at 69.99 rand at the market close in Johannesburg, or just below the 70 rand a share Bidvest offered for 34.5 percent of the Johannesburg-based drugmaker on Dec. 2. The company is valued at about 12.3 billion rand ($1.1 billion).

Adcock, South Africa’s largest supplier of hospital products, is also a takeover target for Chilean drugmaker CFR Pharmaceuticals SA (CFR), which raised its cash and stock offer by 2 percent to 12.8 billion rand on Dec. 13. The CFR deal is supported by the Adcock board and opposed by the PIC, which said Jan. 8 it would prefer a change of management.

Wants Control

Bidvest had built a stake of about 9 percent in Adcock and Joffe said Dec. 3 he eventually wants control of the drugmaker. The company made a 6.2 billion-rand offer for a 60 percent stake in Adcock last March that was rejected by the Adcock board. Its offer for a a 34.5 percent stake will close on Feb. 4, Bidvest said Jan. 16.

CFR’s bid, a minimum of 50 percent of which would be paid in cash, values each share at 74.50 rand to 75.78 rand, according to Adcock.

While Adcock shareholders haven’t been given a date for a vote on the CFR offer, the company will hold its annual general meeting in Johannesburg at 2 p.m. today. Shareholders that owned stock on Jan. 24 are entitled to vote at the meeting.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.