Regulator approves Lactalis bid for Parmalat

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 16th May 2011

Lactalis has received the approval of Italy’s stock market regulator CONSOB for the French dairy giant’s takeover bid for local rival Parmalat.The green light from the regulator is a boost to Lactalis, which has faced political opposition in Italy since it first bought a stake in Parmalat in March.

Lactalis, which owns 29% of Parmalat, tabled a EUR3.4bn takeover bid for the remainder of the business last month.

Reports in Italy have said that the Parmalat board, which has hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on Lactalis’s EUR2.60-a-share offer, will meet next week to discuss the bid. There have been claims that Goldman Sachs will advise Parmalat that the offer is too low.

Lactalis built its 29% stake in Parmalat through two transactions in March. The second deal saw Lactalis buy 15.3% of the company from three funds in a deal worth EUR2.80 a share.

One shareholder yesterday urged Parmalat CEO Enrico Bondi to remember that Lactalis had already paid more for one block of shares.

Questioning Bondi after Parmalat issued its first-quarter results, the shareholder said: “I would find it really unacceptable to surrender control of the company with a EUR2.60 bid when a group of vocal and not very co-operative shareholders were able to secure a EUR2.80 price for their shares. I urge you to keep that in mind.”

“Of course, thank you for the suggestion,” Bondi replied. He added that the Parmalat board would wait until it received the document from CONSOB and would consider all factors.

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