Aryzta says approached by suitors, delays EGM

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Aryzta is seen during the company's annual shareholder meeting in Duebendorf, Switzerland November 1, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Baked goods group Aryzta ARYN.S has delayed its proposed extraordinary shareholders meeting after receiving unsolicited takeover approaches by investors, it said on Monday.

The group, which is being targeted by activist investors Veraison and Cobas Asset Management, pushed back to Sept. 16 its EGM which had originally been planned for mid-August.

“The proposed timing is primarily intended to provide an opportunity to allow the strategic review process in which certain third parties have expressed an unsolicited interest in acquiring the company’s entire issued share capital to be sufficiently advanced to enable the board of directors to frame an appropriate recommendation with the advice of its financial advisers...”, it said.

Board members Dan Flinter and Rolf Watter will resign after the EGM, while Gary McGann indicated that he will step down as chairman then unless the company has announced a significant transaction for shareholder consideration.

The maker of McDonald’s hamburger buns and Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, has been struggling with debts after a failed acquisition spree.

Aryzta shares, which have lost 45% in the last 12 months, rose nearly 10% in early trading.

“Aryzta is now entering a period of beauty contest between the board and the activist shareholders, which normally should lead to an uplift in the share price,” Baader Helvea Equity Research said in a note to clients.

Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by John Revill