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Ali Group makes $3.3 bln cash bid for U.S. rival Welbilt

The proposal topps a buyout bid made by rival Middleby Corp last month

In response to media reports, the Italian Ali Holding S.r.l. (Ali Group, with important brands, like Carpigiani, Rancilio, etc), one of the largest and most diversified global leaders in the foodservice equipment industry, confirmed that on May 25, 2021, it submitted to the Board of Directors of Welbilt, Inc. a proposal under which Ali Group would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Welbilt common stock for $23.00 per share in cash. This proposal represents a premium of 47.2% to the Welbilt share price as of April 20, 2021, the last trading day prior to The Middleby Corporation’s announcement of its pending all-stock transaction with Welbilt, and a premium of approximately 13.9% to the implied value of the Middleby transaction as of May 24, 2021, the last trading day prior to Ali Group submitting its proposal to Welbilt.

The bid trumps a $2.9 billion all-stock offer for Welbilt put forward by Middleby. Activist investor Carl Icahn, Welbilt’s largest shareholder with an 8.4% stake, had agreed to that deal.

Ali Group has substantial cash on hand and has received a Highly Confident Letter from Goldman Sachs International for new financing to fund the proposed transaction. Ali Group will obtain fully underwritten, binding commitment letters for any debt financing prior to signing a definitive merger agreement, which will not contain any financing condition. 

According to the Company "Ali Group has a 60-year history in the foodservice equipment sector and has long-admired Welbilt. Our $23 per share proposal delivers significant cash premium value to Welbilt shareholders and is superior in every respect to Welbilt’s pending all-stock transaction with Middleby. In addition to superior value, our proposal offers greater certainty of closing for Welbilt and its shareholders. We and our advisors look forward to engaging with Welbilt and its advisors to quickly negotiate and finalize a definitive agreement".

Ali Group is an Italian corporation with headquarters located in Milan, Italy. Founded in 1963 by Luciano Berti, Ali's 80 global brands employ approximately 10,000 people in 30 countries and, in terms of sales, is one of the world’s largest groups in this industry. It has 58 manufacturing facilities in 15 countries and sales and service subsidiaries throughout Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

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EFA News - European Food Agency