5 May 2000
Dairy Crest trumps Wiseman bid
By FWi staff
DAIRY Crest has offered 250 million for the Unigates cheese and dairy business, trumping Thursdays (04 May) 240m bid from rival Robert Wiseman Dairies.
Under Dairy Crests revised offer, which includes the transfer of 100m Unigate debt, Unigate shareholders can choose to receive either 0.33 of Dairy Crest shares or 65p in cash for each share.
Unless there is a higher alternative bid Dairy Crest expects the Unigate board will recommend that shareholders accept the offer.
This is the fifth bid in a seesaw struggle between Dairy Crest and Wiseman to buy the Unigate dairy operation.
In March Unigate agreed to sell its dairy operation to Dairy Crest for 220m.
Then, in a move which caught many observers by surprise, Robert Wiseman topped that with a 225m offer.
But last week Dairy Crest regained the upper hand after increasing its offer to 235 million, in a deal agreed by the Unigate board.
The competition has benefitted Unigate shareholders, as only a fortnight ago the value of Dairy Crests original bid had fallen to 200m.
Commenting on the new offer Unigate chairman Ian Martin said: “The agreement we have reached with Dairy Crest today provides a further significant increase in the cash available to Unigate shareholders.”
Dairy Crest chairman Mike Dowdall said: “The revised offer is clearly superior to Wisemans proposal.
“Dairy Crest believes that it is in the interests of all shareholders to bring this process to a timely conclusion ands accordingly we have responded promptly.”