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DuPont extends Danisco offer deadline for a second time

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 31-Mar-2011

DuPont has extended its $6.3bn takeover bid for Danish biotech firm Danisco for the second time, after holders of only six percent of Danisco’s shares have accepted the offer.

The tender offer has been extended an additional four weeks, to expire on April 29, 2011, and DuPont said the extension allows extra time to gain regulatory approval from competition authorities in the European Union and China. US competition authorities have already given regulatory approval to the deal.

The company also said that the deal is on track to close in the second quarter, and claims that the acceptance level to date is consistent with other voluntary tender offers in Denmark at this stage in the offer.

DuPont chair and CEO Ellen Kullman said in a statement: “We believe Danisco shareholders are recognizing that our offer is full, fair and firm and, moreover, it is the best offer available and provides certainty to shareholders. We continue to make good progress on the necessary regulatory approvals, and we look forward to completing the tender process promptly once regulatory approvals are received.”

But the acceptance level of 6 percent at close of business on March 29 was only 1 percentage point higher than the 5 percent acceptance level that DuPont announced the last time it extended the deadline, on February 18.

Apart from giving time for regulatory approvals, the extension will also allow investors more time to respond to DuPont’s offer of DDK 665 (about $115 or €85) per share. DuPont and Danisco announced the $6.3bn deal, which includes assumption of $500m of debt, on January 9, and it relies on acceptance from 90 percent of shareholders.

DuPont has repeatedly said it will not raise its bid, which has been accepted by Danisco’s board.

The board has also recommended that its shareholders should accept the offer, but many have been waiting for major shareholders such as Dutch chemicals group DSM and Danish pension fund group ATP to declare their stance before deciding whether to accept the deal. DSM has a 4.95 per cent stake in Danisco, and ATP has a 5.1 per cent stake.

The result of the extended offer period is expected on May 2, DuPont said, when the offer period could be extended again if all competition approvals have still not been obtained.

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