Schulman Hires Moelis to Advise on Offer to Buy Ferro

A. Schulman Inc., a U.S. plastics maker, hired Moelis & Co. to serve as financial adviser on its unsolicited offer to acquire Ferro Corp. for $563 million, signaling its intent to continue pursuit of the chemical maker.

Schulman also hired Squire Sanders LLP as legal adviser, the Akron, Ohio-based plastics company said today in a statement. Ferro said March 4 its directors unanimously rejected the offer of $6.50 per share, half in cash and half in Schulman stock. The bid is 25 percent higher than Ferro’s March 1 closing price, the last trading day before the offer was announced, valuing Ferro at $855 million including assumption of debt.

Schulman is trying to acquire Ferro while it operates with an interim CEO and battles investor efforts to nominate a slate of directors. Ferro makes electronic materials, coatings, ceramics, plastics, plastic additives and pharmaceuticals, and Schulman has said all but pharmaceuticals would be a good fit.

Schulman Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph M. Gingo said “the overwhelming majority” of Ferro investors with whom managers have spoken “strongly stated” Ferro should discuss the offer with Schulman. “Our offer merits serious consideration by the Ferro board, and we are encouraged by the Ferro shareholder responses,” Gingo said in the statement.

Ferro, based in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, rose 0.5 percent to $6.78 at 10:19 a.m. in New York. The shares have climbed 62 percent this year.

Schulman reiterated that it’s willing to adjust its offer if warranted by the due diligence process.

Ferro has said the takeover bid is not in the best interest of shareholders, who should take no action.

FrontFour Capital Group LLC and Quinpario Partners LLC on Feb. 20 nominated three people to Ferro’s board, citing the poor performance of the company’s shares.

Ferro’s financial adviser is Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and its legal adviser is Jones Day.

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