Premier Foods to Meet McCormick, Seeking a Fourth Takeover Bid

  • U.K. maker of cakes, gravy says 65 pence bid still is too low
  • Food company says it will give info to justify a higher price

Premier Foods Plc agreed to talks with McCormick & Co. after the U.S. spice processor raised its takeover proposal to 1.5 billion pounds ($2.2 billion), even as the British owner of Mr. Kipling cakes insisted that offer is still too low.

Premier’s board is prepared to meet with McCormick to establish whether it will raise its 65 pence per share bid to a level it would be willing to recommend to shareholders, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The U.K. company already rejected bids of 52 pence and 60 pence, and last week formed a partnership with Japanese company Nissin Foods Holding Co.

Premier shares rose 7.1 percent to 60.5 pence as of 2:07 p.m. in London.

McCormick said its latest proposal values Premier at 1.5 billion pounds, including debt. Premier’s well-known stable of gravy brands, cooking sauces and dessert mixes would complement McCormick’s Schwartz brand in the U.K.

Nissin boosted its stake in Premier to 19.9 percent Tuesday. After the food company announced last week that it had spurned its suitor and instead agreed to the tie-up with Nissin, shareholders urged the company to hold talks with Sparks, Maryland-based McCormick.

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