Dec 15 (Reuters) - Swedish food retailer Axfood said on Thursday it had made a 554 million crown ($59.6 million) cash offer for Matse, owner of online grocery store mat.se, as it adapts to shopping moving increasingly online.
* “The food retail market is currently in a phase of major changes, where trade is becoming increasingly digital with an increase in e-commerce,” Axfood said in a statement. “The aim of the acquisition of mat.se is to accelerate and develop our digital venture”
* Axfood offers 17 SEK/share for Matse, offer value around 554 mln SEK
* Says price according to offer represents a premium of around 43 pct vs closing price of 11.90 SEK/Matse share on Dec. 14
* Says owners with a combined 83.2 pct of shares and votes in Matse have committed to accept offer
* Says is not dependent on external financing for the offer and will finance the entire offer by cash available from own funds
* Matse 2015 net sales were 203 mln SEK, operating loss (EBITA) 46 mln SEK
* Matse had said on Monday it had received a preliminary bid, not identifying the bidder, after its shares soared and trade in the stock was halted.
* Matse’s shares jumped 43 pct on Thursday on the news of Axfood’s offer while Axfood’s shares slightly underperformed the wider market in Stockholm
* Planned acceptance period for the offer is Dec. 21-Jan. 23, expected settlement date Jan. 30
* Axfood's currently has e-commerce through its brands Hemkop, Willys, Axfood Narlivs and Axfood Snabbgross For the original story click here: bit.ly/2gDppMa Further company coverage: ($1 = 9.2908 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom)