Candover to bid for Unigate?

24 February 2000

Candover to bid for Unigate?

By FWi staff

QUOTED venture capital firm Candover is reported to be in the preliminary stages of preparing a bid for Unigate.

Scroders, the investment bank, has been appointed to advise Candover which is raising finance for a potential offer, reports the Financial Times.

Unigate last week agreed to merge its dairy and cheese activities with Dairy Crest.

Under that deal Dairy Crest will issue approximately 75.7 million new shares to Unigate shareholders, and has taken on 100m of debt.

At the time it was said Unigate would concentrate on the growing convenience food sector and Wincanton Logistics.

Analysts now say any offer that valued Unigates equity at more than 750m would win support from institutional investors.

Unigate is vulnerable to a takeover because of a poor share price performance – its stock has fallen by more than 30% in the past year.

The FT speculates that news of Candovers interest could prompt other possible bidders to consider offers.

Alternately, it suggests that Unigate chairman Ian Martin may hold talks with rival groups if a Candover offer does not materialise.

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