Zuari, UB team up for counter-offer

The battle for the control of Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers is turning into a corporate tug-of-war, with Zuari Fertilisers and Chemicals teaming up with Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries (Holdings) and others to challenge Deepak Fertilisers’ bid to acquire a 26 per cent stake in MCF.

On Tuesday, Zuari’s Saroj Poddar and Mallya announced a counter offer at ₹68.55 a share against the ₹63 offered by Pune-based Deepak Fertilisers on May 1 by a public announcement.

The new offer increases the deal size to ₹211.22 crore from the ₹194 crore announced by Deepak Fertilisers. On Tuesday, MCF closed at ₹70.55 on the BSE, up 0.14 per cent.

Deepak Fertilisers owns a little over 25 per cent in MCF, while Zuari Chemicals and Adventz group Chairman Poddar owns 16.43 per cent and UB’s Mallya, 22 per cent.

On April 23, Deepak Fertilisers had made what is seen as a hostile bid for MCF, offering to acquire 3.08 crore shares at ₹61.75 a share. A week later, this was revised to ₹63 a share. If this had succeeded, Deepak Fertilisers would have had a controlling 51.36 per cent stake in MCF.

However, in a filing with bourses, Ambit Corporate Finance and ICICI Securities, making the offer on behalf of Zuari Fertilisers and Chemicals (acquirer), Zuari Agro Chemicals, UB (Holdings), Kingfisher Finvest India and McDowell Holdings (persons acting in concert), said an offer was being made to acquire a 26 per cent stake in MCF.

Reacting, Pranav Thakkar, head of corporate communications at Deepak Fertilisers, said: “We shall … take necessary steps after consulting our investment bankers.”

(This article was published on May 13, 2014)
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