Aga shares heat up over rival bid from Whirlpool

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in Aga Rangemaster, the upmarket oven-maker, shot up by almost 10 per cent yesterday after appliances giant Whirlpool gatecrashed its agreed £130m takeover by fellow US company Middleby.

The firm, whose iconic iron stoves are synonymous with the British middle class, confirmed yesterday it has received an approach regarding a possible cash offer from Whirlpool and that it has agreed to open its books.

However, the board said it still recommends that investors accept Middleby’s offer and confirmed it will be pushing ahead with the takeover given that Whirlpool’s offer could fall through. “The making of a firm offer by Whirlpool remains subject to a number of conditions and there is no certainty that any offer will be forthcoming or as to the terms of any offer,” Aga said.

The 76-year-old company, which is saddled with a hefty pension deficit, confirmed the 185p per share offer by US manufacturer Middleby in July. The sale was set to be approved by shareholders on 8 September.

However, it said it could adjourn a meeting to sanction the Middleby takeover if it received an offer from Whirlpool that it could recommend to shareholders.

Aga’s shares jumped by 9.76 per cent to 201p on the news, while Whirlpool’s went down the drain, shedding 4.6 per cent in New York yesterday.

Earlier this month, Aga reported a 1.5 per cent rise in revenues to £125.4m in the first half of the year, with operating profits up 17 per cent to £2.8m.