The board of
is planning to meet late Monday, according to a person close to one of the members, to weigh an increased takeover bid from British-Dutch food company
In the continuing takeover drama, Englewood Cliff, N.J.- based Bestfoods is playing both predator and prey. It has long been eyed by Unilever, while at the same time, has been in its own discussions to buy
Most analysts, however, expect Bestfoods to eventually succumb to Unilever for a price in the low $70-per-share range. Many view the specter of a Bestfoods-Campbell merger as no more than a
tactic to prod Unilever to up its bid.
Officials at all three companies declined comment.
In early May, Bestfoods turned down a $66-per-share offer from Unilever. Last week Unilever upped its bid to $70 per share, while over the weekend raised it yet again to $72, or $20.5 billion,
The Wall Street Journal
The market gave a tepid reaction to the reports of the meeting, as investors have long known that Bestfoods was in play and news of an increased offer from Unilever reached the market last week. Shares in Bestfoods were off 2 1/8, or 3%, closing at 63. Campbells, meanwhile, finished up 1 3/16, or 4%, to 31 1/8. Unilever was up 9/16, or 1%, to 50 3/8.