Wiseman raises Unigate stakes

4 May 2000

Wiseman raises Unigate stakes

By FWi staff

SCOTTISH Milk giant Robert Wiseman has taken the initiative in the battle to buy Unigates cheese and dairy business after increasing its offer to 240 million.

This trumps the last offer from rival Dairy Crest by 5m.

The Unigate board says it is likely to recommend the Robert Wiseman offer to shareholders unless a higher bid is received, reports the Press Association news agency.

Wisemans latest bid is the fourth offer made for the Unigate business in the past two months.

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.

Unigate agreed to pay Dairy Crest a 2.35m break fee if another party makes a successful offer after more than seven days.

Wiseman says its new offer would pay 61p in cash for each Unigate share, reports PA.

Both Dairy Crest and Wisemans bids include taking on 100 million of Unigates debt.

Earlier this week the Competition Commission said Robert Wiseman has been operating a monopoly in Scotland.

In an initial three-month inquiry it found that the company currently controls up to 85% of the Scotlands milk market.

Now the commission must decide whether Wiseman carried out any “uncompetitive” practices or had “exploited” its position.

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