Middleby Group today stood defiant in response to rival Ali Group’s counterbid for Welbilt – with CEO Tim FitzGerald branding the offer “highly opportunistic and conditional”.
Ali Group has said it will pay $3.3 billion in cash for Welbilt, casting doubts over Middleby’s chances of acquiring the business.
But Tim FitzGerald, CEO of Middleby, said that it has a definitive agreement to acquire Welbilt and the regulatory approval process is already underway.
“Middleby remains firmly committed to seeing our proposed merger with Welbilt through,” he said. “The Ali Group’s non-binding indication is highly opportunistic and conditional. We believe that the combination of Middleby and Welbilt can be completed with a high degree of certainty and deliver superior value to Welbilt’s shareholders.
“Ali Group’s non-binding proposal has a number of conditions, challenges and risks, all of which increase the uncertainty of achieving a completed transaction.”
Mr FitzGerald said the business has “strong confidence” that the value of the proposed merger is “far superior” to Welbilt’s shareholders, allowing them to participate in the combined entity’s future growth, realisation of synergies, and the industry’s continued recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These upside opportunities are evidenced by the broker price targets for our company, the majority of which point to a significantly higher value to Welbilt’s shareholders.
“Through our diligence process, we have built a working relationship with the Welbilt team and believe that our organisations have a strong cultural alignment, which will benefit both organisations in the long-term. Our proposed merger is also in the best interest of not only both companies’ shareholders, but our customers, employees, distributors and other stakeholders.”