Friday October 8, 2021
I offered two billion bids
The competition for Zooplus enters its final stage
Munich-based Zooplus will be withdrawn from the exchange in order to enable international expansion. The two interested investors are on the same page with their offers for this online pet supply retailer. But one of the bidders has a small advantage.
The acquisition of Munich’s online pet supply store Zooplus has evolved into a snail race. Californian financial investor Hellman & Friedman (H&F) has settled on the level with the offer from Swedish investment firm EQT and is now also offering €470 per share to Zooplus, €10 more than before and totaling €3.6 billion. Thus, Zooplus shareholders have the choice between two financially equivalent offerings.
It is clear that both exhibitors no longer see much scope for another increase. However, H&F has an advantage. Americans have already acquired 17 percent of the shares from several major shareholders — including the RAG Foundation and investor Luxempart. They’re bound by their commitment again because H&F has followed suit. Now it’s EQT’s turn again if the Swedes don’t want to be left behind. “We have taken note of the latest step by Hillman and Friedman,” a spokeswoman said.
EQT recently added another €70 million to its offering, and H&F is now doing only the bare minimum to secure its advantage. Zooplus shareholders are betting that €470 is not the last word in poker. The share in the SDax small value index declined marginally on Friday to 480.80 euros. Zooplus shareholders have until November 3 to accept one of the two offers.
Acquisition deadline extended
The offer from H&F, which effectively runs until October 12, has been extended in accordance with German takeover law. In the worst case, according to the current situation, both can fail due to the requirement to get more than 50 percent of Zooplus. Both want to take Zooplus off the exchange.
It’s now eagerly awaited to see how the Zooplus board will officially position itself on the EQT show. He spoke in favor of the Hillman and Friedman offer and is bound by his recommendation under the contract with the Americans. “Hellman and Friedman remain determined to implement the long-term strategic partnership agreed upon with Zooplus,” the financial investor’s announcement said. They have great advantages over Zooplus.
Cornelius Butt, president and co-founder of Zooplus, has carefully made sense in the spring of the investor who must bring in funds for overseas expansion and free Zooplus from the short-term pressure to achieve the success that stock listing brings with it. He initially found what he was looking for in H&F, but this move brought EQT to the fore.
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