Origin and Aryzta silent on takeover

AGRI-FOOD company Origin Enterprises and its majority shareholder, the Irish-Swiss bakery group Aryzta, have both refused to comment at length on reports that Origin has received a £400 million (€464m) takeover offer from an unknown private equity house.

Shares in Origin were trading at €3.30 in Dublin yesterday; up by 6.45% on Friday’s closing price. A spokesperson for Origin — which provides a number of agricultural services as well as owning a number of leading consumer brands (such as Erin, Squeez, Roma and Odlums) through its Valeo Foods joint venture — said that the company does not comment on “rumour and speculation”.

First reports of the alleged bid came via ‘merger-market’, the online mergers and acquisitions& information source, late last week. Subsequent online reports have suggested that Origin — which has been active in the acquisition market, itself, this year — has been studying and evaluating the offer.

Whether or not there is any real substance to the story remains to be seen. Any takeover bid would have to be approved by Aryzta — which owns 71.4% of Origin — and a spokesperson for that company similarly said that they do not comment on market speculation.

While nothing was forthcoming from the company, yesterday, one industry source expressed surprise and doubt over the reports.

Origin and Aryzta are scheduled to publish full-year results before the end of this month.

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