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CNH, Chery Heavy Industries Trump Kubota Bid for Kverneland

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Kverneland ASA, a Norwegian maker of tractor equipment, said CNH Global NV and Chery Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. made separate takeover bids of 1.46 billion kroner ($245 million) to trump an offer from Japan’s Kubota Corp.

CNH Global, controlled by Fiat Industrial SpA, is considering a bid of 9.5 kroner a share in cash for the Kverneland, Norway-based company, pending due diligence, Fiat Industrial said today in statement. Kverneland said it expects CNH may make a binding offer by Dec. 23. Chery Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. also indicated after the market closed it may make a similar bid, Kverneland said in a separate statement.

Fiat Industrial is seeking to expand in northern Europe and to widen CNH’s product range with Kverneland in its first acquisition since the truck and tractor maker was spun off from Fiat SpA in January. Chairman Sergio Marchionne has repeatedly said that Fiat Industrial has more freedom to make alliances after being separated from the Italian carmaker.

The offers from the Amsterdam-based maker of Case and New Holland agricultural equipment and the Wuhu, China-based Chery are 1 krone more per share than Kubota offered on Dec. 16, which was 36 percent higher than the prior day’s closing price. Chery said that it would need longer than the Dec. 23 deadline CNH has indicated to carry out due diligence on the company.

Kubota has the right to match a binding offer within five business days if Kverneland’s board considers such a bid to be superior to the bid by the Japanese maker of industrial machinery, the Norwegian company said. Kverneland must pay a 1.5 million-euro ($2 million) break fee if the board withdraws its recommendation of the Kubota offer, the company said in a statement on Dec. 16.

Fiat Industrial owns 88 percent of CNH, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Kverneland shares rose 18 percent to 9.95 kroner as of 5:30 p.m. in Oslo. Fiat Industrial rose 0.6 percent in Milan trading.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Treloar at streloar1@bloomberg.net Tommaso Ebhardt at tebhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at cwienberg@bloomberg.net

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