Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp., which has proposed buying rival Maytag Corp. for U.S. $18 a share, may submit a formal bid by August 9, Maytag said in a federal filing.
Maytag, which agreed in May to be bought out by an investor group led by private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings for $14 a share, reiterated that a shareholder vote on that pact would occur on August 19, and said shareowners who had already voted could change their vote.
Maytag's filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stated that it and Whirlpool agreed to certain "standstill" provisions as part of a recent confidentiality accord that allowed the companies to start due diligence, or the sharing of proprietary financial information.
For instance, for 3 years, the two appliance makers agreed not to take certain actions such as seeking to control or influence management or board members of the other company without that company's permission.
Whirlpool made an initial offer of $17 a share, or about $1.3 billion, to acquire Maytag last month, but raised it to $1.4 billion, or $18 a share, after Maytag said it could not determine whether the first offer would lead to a better deal than the Ripplewood pact, which is valued at about $1.1 billion.
Whirlpool, which previously stated it wanted to submit a formal bid by August 9, reiterated that many retailers and retail buying groups support its pursuit of Maytag in a filing late on August 1.
Among the four top U.S. appliance retailers, Whirlpool said one wrote a letter of support, two said they were not opposed and the other declined to comment. The four top appliance retailers are Sears Holdings, Lowe's Cos., Home Depot, and Best Buy. (Reuters)
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