Dutch animal nutrition and fish feed specialist Nutreco NV is fattening up its defenses against unwanted suitors Cargill Inc. and Permira in favor of a €3 billion ($3.7 billion) agreed offer from SHV NV, a closely held Dutch investment firm.
Nutreco confirmed on Monday, Dec. 1, that it plans to add Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP to an adviser group including ING Corporate Finance and Dutch law firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek.
"Following the approach by Cargill, the boards have decided to add BAML and Skadden to their team of advisers in order to have extra insight in and understanding of the U.S. perspective," said Nutreco spokesman Mark Woldberg.
The development comes less than a month after SHV raised its recommended bid to €44 a share, after Nutreco rejected a breakup proposal from Cargill and Permira that Nutreco estimates to be worth €43.20 a share. It also comes amid widespread expectations that Cargill will up the ante with a higher offer.
"This story has not ended yet," wrote analyst Gerard Rijk of SNS Securities in a Monday note. "The fact that Nutreco is hiring two additional advisers shows that Cargill's interest is not over."
Adding Nutreco's world-leading fish feed business "is by far the best opportunity for Cargill to strengthen its position and become the global market leader for the next decade in this potentially high-growth market," he said, predicting that Cargill may divest assets in the U.K. and the Netherlands where there are overlaps if its bid succeeds.