“Premier talks turkey after American bid” is the headline in The Times (£) after Premier Foods agreed to engage with US bidder McCormick despite knocking back its latest 65p per share offer.
Premier said the McCormick offer “continues to undervalue” its prospects, but said it was prepared to meet the US company to discuss “pensions documentation, current trading and material contracts”. Premier “has come under significant pressure from its shareholders to negotiate with McCormick,” writes The Telegraph. A number of the papers also make note of Premier’s potential co-operation partner Nissin Foods building its stake to 19.9% yesterday. (The Financial Times £, The Guardian, The Daily Mail)
“Aaah Bisto – now you’re talking” was a prescient tag-line employed by one of Premier Foods’ best loved brands a few years ago, writes The Telegraph’s Ashley Armstrong. “No doubt investors will be just as relieved that, after a week of ignoring its US suitor, the gravy maker has come to its senses and started negotiating.” (The Telegraph)
Shares in Metro jumped more than 10 per cent on Wednesday morning after the German retail conglomerate revealed plans to split into two companies that will be separately listed on the stock market. (The Financial Times £)
The FT’s Lex column looks at the Metro food and electronics demerger, writing: “About a fifth of Media-Saturn is owned by Erich Kellerhals, its founder, who has been highly critical of Metro’s strategy and management. True, Mr Kellerhals’ words are not as frightening as they seem — he has a limited set of veto rights — and the structure of the transaction limits the scope for trouble. But making peace before the split could make for a problem solved, rather than just halved.” (The Financial Times £)
The Campaign for Real Ale is threatening to call last orders on itself with the launch of a consultation of its loyal band of 177,000 members. Michael Hardman, a co-founder, will lead the review into whether Camra should continue to focus solely on real ale, that is a fresh beer made from natural ingredients that mature in the cask. (The Times £)
Discount supermarket Aldi has recalled some branded biscuits and snacks due to possible “pest contamination”. The products, made by Baketime, have been withdrawn from sale “on a precautionary basis” because of “potential unhygienic manufacturing conditions”. (The Guardian)