China’s Midea Has 86% of Robot-Maker in $4.4 Billion Bid

  • Investors can tender shares July 21-Aug. 3 in extended offer
  • Chinese company had set target of at least 30% of Kuka shares

China’s Midea Group Co. said it has almost 86 percent of Kuka AG’s shares, advancing a 4 billion-euro ($4.4 billion) bid to buy the German robot maker that has seen opposition from German politicians.

A total of 72.18 percent of the share capital was tendered in the offer that ended July 15 and Midea already held 13.51 percent of the German robot maker’s stock, the Foshan-based company said Monday in a statement. Midea, who had set a minimum acceptance at 30 percent, extended the period investors can tender their shares until August 3.

“From Midea’s point of view, the more the better,” said Juliette Liu, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Co. “If Midea can get total control it would be greatly beneficial for their plans to expand Kuka’s business in China.”

Midea’s offer has the backing of Kuka’s management and shareholders Voith GmbH and Friedhelm Loh have already tendered their shares. German politicians have been critical of the deal with Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel seeking but not finding an alternative buyer from Europe.

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The Chinese company gave Kuka assurances that jobs and plants in Germany will be protected until the end of 2013. It also agreed not to pursue a domination agreement or de-listing of the Augsburg-based company’s shares.

“Today we have reached an important milestone in the expansion of our partnership with Kuka, which offers great value-creation potential for both companies,” said Paul Fang, chairman and chief executive officer of Midea.“The investor agreement between Kuka and Midea sets out the future cooperation in detail. We want to help Kuka to grow and expand the business, especially in China.”

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