LONDON — Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd., an affiliate of Elliott Management Corp., on Nov. 23 confirmed that it made an offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Schlieren, Switzerland-based Aryzta AG for 0.80 Swiss francs per share (88¢ per share), or approximately 794 million Swiss francs ($872 million).
Elliott said its offer followed several months of work “conducted with the support of the company and its board of directors, both before and after the Extraordinary General Meeting on Sept. 16, 2020.”
“We also note press speculation regarding the financing for such an acquisition and the refinancing of the company,” said Elliott, which manages approximately $41 billion of assets. Its flagship fund, Elliott Associates, LP, was founded in 1977, making it one of the oldest funds of its kind under continuous management. “We confirm that the financing of the potential offer is available and that refinancing arrangements for the company’s existing debt are at a very advanced stage. We require the board of directors’ recommendation of our potential offer and the company’s support to finalize our refinancing arrangements.”
Following the release of Elliott’s statement, Aryzta issued its own statement, acknowledging that it received a non-binding letter from Elliott. But Aryzta said it concluded discussions with Elliott on Oct. 24, 2020.
“Aryzta previously announced the appointment of financial advisers for asset disposals and the board, in line with its fiduciary duties, will consider all alternatives and select the optimum option for a sustainable future for the company,” Aryzta said.
Last week, Urs Ernst Jordi, who was elected chairman of Aryzta AG on Sept. 16, was named the company’s interim chief executive officer by the board of directors. Kevin Toland’s tenure as CEO ended Nov. 19, according to the company.
The board also appointed Jonathan Solesbury as interim chief financial officer. As previously announced, CFO Frederic Pflanz will leave the company on Nov. 30.
“Our immediate task is to deliver change and improvement across the business to regain the confidence of all our stakeholders,” Mr. Jordi said. “We will do this with speed and determination, pursuing Aryzta’s mission to serve inspiration through a broad range of differentiated high-quality bakery products. Our business has strong development potential, and we have the resources and ability to win with a focused business model of core markets and businesses, a simplified organization and empowered local teams.”
Aryzta’s board plans to recruit a permanent CEO.