Whirlpool mounts 11th hour bid to snatch AGA Rangemaster from US rival

DOMESTIC appliance giant Whirlpool has made an audacious eleventh hour bid to snatch AGA Rangemaster away from its US rival, the Middleby Corporation.

Leamington-based AGA Rangemaster confirmed today that it had received an approach from Whirlpool with a view to possibly acquiring the cooker and boiler business – despite AGA’s board already having recommended the £129m offer submitted by Middleby.

AGA said the approach by Whirlpool had yet to result in a firm offer – and there was no guarantee that one would be made.

In its own statement, Michigan-based Whirlpool confirmed it had approached AGA with a view to making an offer for the business.

“A further announcement will be made in due course if appropriate, but there can be no certainty that a formal offer will be made or as to the terms of any offer,” it said.

AGA said any offer from Whirlpool was subject to the satisfaction or waiver of a number of conditions including due diligence.

However, in accordance with its obligations under the UK Takeover Code, AGA has granted due diligence access to Whirlpool and is in discussions with the company regarding other aspects of its possible offer.

Nevertheless, AGA said it was also keen to protect the interest of its shareholders and would be progressing the Middleby bid to a previously agreed timetable.

“Given the conditionality of the Whirlpool offer, the board of AGA believes it is in the best interests of AGA shareholders, taken as a whole, to ensure that the Middleby transaction continues to be executed on the current timetable to avoid any delay to completion of that transaction should a firm offer from Whirlpool not be forthcoming,” it said.

Accordingly, the AGA board is continuing to recommend the offer made by Middleby.
A general meeting of AGA shareholders is set to convene on September 8 to vote on the offer made by Middleby.

AGA said even if the Middleby offer was approved at the meeting this would not prejudice the company’s ability to recommend any formal offer made by Whirlpool to AGA shareholders.

AGA is now in discussions with the UK Takeover Panel regarding the setting of a deadline under which Whirlpool will have to confirm whether it intends to submit an offer or not.

The Takeover Panel will then make an announcement of the deadline in due course.  
Assuming AGA shareholders approve the resolutions to be considered at the general meeting, the AGA directors will consider whether to proceed with the sanction of the Middleby scheme on September 16.

“The board of AGA retains the ability to adjourn the sanction hearing if it receives an offer from Whirlpool prior to this deadline which it would intend to recommend to AGA shareholders or if it otherwise considers an adjournment necessary,” it said.

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...