US appliance giant Whirlpool approached Aga on September 1 and was in talks over an offer to match the now sole remaining bid from Middleby, an Illinois cooking and industrial process company who’s £129m approach for the iconic British oven maker has had support from the board at Aga.
Following Whirlpool’s initial offer, Aga said it was still recommending the Middleby offer to shareholders and then on Friday 11th September Whirlpool said it would not proceed with its bid;
“Whirlpool today announces that, after full and careful consideration, it does not intend to make an offer to acquire the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Aga,” it said in a statement yet Whirlpool is believed to reserve the right to revive its bid within the next six months.
The sole offer left on the table by Middleby is offering Aga shareholders 185p in cash per share, which represents a 77pc premium on the company’s trading price before the potential offer was revealed with Aga now set to officially seal the takeover on September 16.
The deal was originally due to be approved by shareholders on September 8 and according to various press reports would help Aga tackle its somewhat sizeable pension deficit, whilst also giving Middleby a much sought after foothold in Europe.
Of the developments Aga commented, “Given the conditionality of the Whirlpool offer, the board of Aga believes it is in the best interests of Aga shareholders to ensure that the Middleby transaction continues to be executed on the current timetable to avoid any delay to completion of that transaction should a firm offer from Whirlpool not be forthcoming.”
Whirlpool, which generates roughly $20bn in annual sales and is home to the iconic KitchenAid mixer is a global giant yet whilst many consumers in the UK may not be aware of the Middleby name, Middleby is the largest global manufacturer of commercial cooking equipment with its products including conveyor ovens, ranges, steamers, convection ovens, combi ovens, broilers and steam cooking equipment, induction cooking systems, speed cook ovens, baking and proofing ovens, char broilers and other catering equipment being used in restaurants, from quick service to fine dining, as well as in institutional foodservice such as hospitals and schools. Middleby customers in the Commercial Foodservice Equipment Group include YUM! Brands, Subway, Dunkin Brands, Cheesecake Factory, Papa John’s International and many others and its leading positon is perhaps what Aga thought offered the iconic British brand more potential for future growth?