Danisco board backs higher DuPont offer

City A.M. Reporter
DENMARK’S Danisco has urged shareholders to accept a higher takeover bid from US chemicals group DuPont yesterday as fund managers welcomed the “decent offer” and said it would likely succeed.

DuPont, run by chief executive Ellen Kullman, raised its offer for the Danish food ingredients and enzymes producer by five per cent to 700 Danish crowns (£83.30) per share from 665, making its cash offer worth £4bn.

The sweetened bid was announced late last week in an attempt to persuade reluctant Danisco shareholders to accept a deal first announced in January and endorsed then too by the Danisco board.

Danisco’s board told shareholders yesterday to accept the raised offer, noting it would be the final bid.

“The board confirms that it believes that the increased offer price represents compelling value for the shareholders of Danisco and reiterates its unanimous recommendation to shareholders to accept the offer before 13 May 2011, when the offer period expires,” Danisco said in a statement.

DuPont also lowered the acceptance level that it requires of Danisco shareholders to 80 per cent from 90 per cent and extended the offer period to 13 May.

The US company said last week that shareholders with 48 per cent of Danisco’s stock had already backed the deal.

Danisco’s biggest shareholder, Danish pension insurance group ATP with 5.1 per cent of the stock, said it would accept DuPont’s new offer, and some other institutional investors also said they would now take the money.

“We think this is an attractive offer and we are willing to support this new increased bid,” Claus Wiinblad, ATP’s head of Danish equity investments, said.

“I think that this increased bid will lead most people to accept the offer,” Wiinblad said.

DEUTSCHE Bank is advising Danisco on the offer from DuPont, with global co-chairman of M&A Tom Cooper leading the team from London.

Cooper was one of a number of high-profile hires made by Deutsche Bank in 2009, joining from UBS.

Cooper worked at UBS for more than 21 years, and was made head of European M&A in 2005.

During his time at the Swiss bank he advised clients including British Airways, Halliburton, Carnival Corp, Temasek, Vinci and Exel.

Before UBS, Cooper worked at SG Warburg, where he started in 1988.

DuPont is being advised by JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Nordea.

The Nordea team is being led out of Denmark by co-head of equity capital markets Torben Hansen, with associate Peter Justesen.