Marine Harvest Offers $1.7 Billion for Competitor Cermaq

Marine Harvest ASA, the fish-farming company controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen, offered 9.7 billion kroner ($1.7 billion) to acquire competitor Cermaq ASA.

The company offered 105 kroner a share for Cermaq, a 22 percent premium, according an e-mailed statement today. The deal is conditioned on Cermaq shareholders not going through with a proposed 3.49 billion kroner takeover of Copeinca ASA.

Cermaq, in which the Norwegian government owns a 43.5 percent stake, controls more than 50 percent of Copeinca’s shares and will make a voluntary offer for the rest, it said earlier this month.

“No other industrial combination than Cermaq and Marine Harvest is better suited to lift both the companies and the Norwegian marine industry into a position of global leadership,” Chairman Ole-Eirik Leroey said in a statement. “We will maintain all significant parts of the companies in a strong, world class company; offering an integrated value chain from feed to retail sales.”

The offer requires two-thirds acceptance and will be paid half in shares and half in cash, Oslo-based Marine Harvest said. While it hasn’t considered in detail the potential gains from a combination, it said it expects the “synergy potential to be significant.”

Cermaq is seeking to buy Lima-based Copeinca, a producer of fishmeal and oil from anchovy caught off Peru, to expand into the South American nation, the world’s largest exporter of the salmon feed ingredients by volume.

Marine Harvest said it will seek to sell a five-year 350 million euro ($461 million) convertible bond as part of the financing for the takeover.

Norway’s Industry Ministry today said that it has taken note of the offer and will take it under consideration, according to an e-mailed statement.

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