Del Monte Foods on Thursday agreed to be bought by a group led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co in a deal worth about $4 billion excluding debt, the latest in a flurry of private equity transactions. The $19 per share offer for the company, which makes Meow Mix cat food, Milk-Bone dog biscuits and canned vegetables, represents a 5.6% premium over Del Montes closing stock price of $17.99 on Wednesday, and a premium of about 23% over its opening price on November 18, when media reports about a possible deal began circulating. Del Montes stock has surged 62% this year. Vestar Capital Partners and a fund run by Centerview partner James Kilts will join KKR in the deal, which ranks as one of the largest US leveraged buyouts of the year. The three partners will assume about $1.3 billion in Del Montes debt. When including the debt, the company said the deal value is $5.3 billion. Del Monte can try to solicit high offers until January 8, 2011 during a so-called go shop period. Del Monte said it expects the deal to close in March if it gets no higher bid. It also said it plans to keep its headquarters in San Francisco. In September, Del Monte cut its full-year sales forecast due to higher rebates paid to retailers to spur consumer spending. In July, Del Monte first cut its sales estimates for the year.
KT, Posco join consortium to buy $6-billion govt stake in Woori
Posco and KT Corp have agreed to join a consortium led by Woori Finance Holdings to bid for a $6 billion-plus government-held stake in Woori, a source said on Friday. The government will close the first round of bidding for the 57% stake on Friday, marking the completion of its bank privatisation programme after it injected massive public funds for bailouts in the wake of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Woori, South Koreas biggest financial services firm by assets, has sought independent survival to avoid merging with another bank. It said on Friday that it would submit a letter of intent for the government-held stake. The group had lined up investors including employees, steelmaker Posco, telecommunications operator KT Corp and the National Pension Service, the source familiar with the matter told Reuters, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. A Posco spokesman said the steelmaker was closely watching the market situation. KT Corp officials were not immediately available for comment.
Hyundai E&C $4.8-bn stake sale at risk as shareholders delay funding
The $4.8-billion sale of a stake in Hyundai Engineering & Construction may be at risk as top shareholders delay signing a deal while awaiting clarification on funding plans from Hyundai Group. Shipping-focused underdog Hyundai Group was picked as preferred bidder for the 35% stake, beating out rival Hyundai Motor Group. Hyundai Group offered about 5.5 trillion won ($4.8 billion) more than double the current market value of the countrys top contractor but has failed to sign a preliminary agreement with creditors-turned-shareholders ahead of the November 29 deadline. The major shareholders of Hyundai E&C requested additional information on Hyundai Groups financing plans, which involve a 1.2-trillion won loan from Frances Natixis, amid market speculation that Hyundai Group might have offered group shares as collateral. We want additional information on the financing, including the lending agreement between Hyundai and Natixis, said a spokesman for Korea Exchange Bank, a major E&C shareholder.