Welbilt Gets $3.3 Billion Bid From Italy’s Ali Group

Welbilt, which is based in Florida, makes food-service equipment.

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Welbilt Inc.

Updated May 28, 2021 7:17 pm ET

Welbilt Inc.,

WBT 24.05%

which agreed to sell itself in a $2.9 billion deal last month, has received a topping bid valuing the food-service-equipment maker at around $3.3 billion.

Italy’s Ali Group said Friday it made an all-cash offer to buy the company for $23 a share on May 25. The Wall Street Journal reported on the bid earlier Friday, sending Welbilt’s shares up over 20% in midday trading.

Welbilt agreed in April to sell itself to rival

Middleby Corp.

MIDD -1.86%

for 0.1240 Middleby share for each Welbilt share, an offer that at the time was worth around $20.69 a share.

Florida-based Welbilt’s shares closed Friday at $24.71.

Middleby said its all-stock deal is superior to Ali Group’s bid because it allows Welbilt shareholders to benefit from the combined company’s future growth.

Ali Group, which also makes food-service equipment and operates globally, was founded in 1963 and is privately held.

One of Welbilt’s largest shareholders is

Carl Icahn,

who holds a roughly 7.5% stake. Mr. Icahn has a representative on its board and had agreed to vote in favor of the Middleby deal.

Topping bids have been a common occurrence so far this year, as companies flush with cash and strong stock prices go shopping for targets sometimes beaten down amid market volatility.

Write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

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Appeared in the May 29, 2021, print edition as ‘Italian Suitor Makes Rival Bid Of $3.3 Billion for Welbilt.’


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