Cooke says Tassal’s offer is ‘attractive’

Cooke Aquaculture said it viewed its A$1bn (£567m) bid for Tasmanian salmon farmer Tassal as an attractive proposition for shareholders.

Yesterday the company submitted an offer of AU$4.85 per share which was rejected by the Hobart-based company.

It now appears to have been Cooke’s third offer, starting at AU$4.67 per share on May 26, followed by AU$4.80 per share on June 6.

The Sydney Morning Herald, one of Australia’s leading newspapers, said Canadian-owned Cooke may have to raise his bid to more than $5 if he wants to get his price. As of last night, Tassal’s price had risen 16% to $4.61 per share.

Cooke said in a statement last night that he was keen to undertake the transaction on an amicable basis with the approval of Tassal’s board, and had therefore proposed that the transaction be done through a plan of Tassal arrangement.

The statement continued: “The proposal is subject to limited conditionality and, importantly, is not subject to the granting of due diligence access to Cooke.

“Cooke considers his revised proposal to be particularly attractive given the significant rise in risk-free rates and the cost of debt since the first non-binding indicative proposal delivered to the Tassal board on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

“Cooke believes his proposed cash consideration of A$4.85 per share is an attractive premium given Tassal’s salmon volumes have been maximized given restrictions on new marine farming leases.”

It concludes: “Cooke’s intention is to engage the Tassal Board of Directors to provide shareholders with a consumable transaction.”

With sales of C$2.4bn (£1.52bn), Cooke has a global reach that stretches from North, Central and South America to Scotland and the Mediterranean. Essentially a salmon farmer, he also raises shrimp, sea bass and sea bream.

If Cooke is ultimately successful, it would be the second Tasmanian salmon farmer to fall under foreign control in the past year. Last September, Brazilian meat giant JBS outwitted Cooke to buy Huon Aquaculture for around A$425 million (£240.1).

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