Candover back in for Stork

Candover, a UK-based private equity firm, has made a surprise second offer for Stork, a Dutch industrial group which has been fending off buyout approaches for more than two years.

Candover now appears to have teamed up with those hostile to its earlier bid and is offering €48.4 per share alongside Landsbanki and Eyrir Invest, representing a value of approximately €1.5bn (US$2.2bn).

In September, Candover withdrew a €47 per share offer which had been accepted by Stork’s management board after resistance from Icelandic investors LME, comprising Landsbanki, Eyrir Invest and Marel Food Systems, which held a combined 32.16% of Stork stock at the time.

Candover had won approval in its earlier bid from US hedge funds Paulson and Centaurus, which had both resisted previous attempts to break up the group. The two have a combined 33% stake.

The LME consortium, which now owns approximately 43% of the issued ordinary share capital of Stork, has already expressed its support for the offer. Centaurus and Paulson also support the new offer.

Marel had resisted Candover’s initial bid as it wanted to buy Stork’s food systems division. Candover has now agreed to sell the unit to Marel for €415m on a cash and debt free basis.