March 8, 2019 / 7:27 AM / in a month

Berry Global trumps Apollo with $4.37 billion offer for RPC

(Reuters) - British packaging company RPC Group has agreed to a higher takeover offer from plastics maker Berry Global Group Inc worth 3.34 billion pounds ($4.37 billion), and has ditched a lower bid from Apollo Global Management LLC.

RPC, Europe’s biggest plastic packaging group, said on Friday it had revoked support for Apollo’s offer in favor of Berry Global and said its directors would recommend shareholders to vote in favor of the new offer.

Berry’s offer of 793 pence in cash for each RPC share is 1.4 percent higher than Apollo’s offer, and represents a premium of 3.5 percent to RPC’s closing price on Jan. 30, the last day before Berry said it was weighing a bid for RPC.

The new offer values RPC at 3.34 billion pounds.

Apollo was not immediately available to comment.

RPC shares were down more than 1.3 percent at 785.4 pence in early trading on Friday, still below Berry Global’s offer price, with analysts saying the new offer was not a blockbuster.

“A better offer is an improvement, but it’s not going to have shareholders dancing in the streets,” Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Nicholas Hyett said.

Panmure Gordon analyst Adrian Kearsey said the market was hoping for more than 793 pence a share.

Berry’s bid for RPC marks the latest in M&A deals in the packaging sector, which private equity firms have been focusing on for its stable cashflow and demand from online shopping. Packaging maker DS Smith Plc this week agreed to sell its plastics business to a private equity company.

Evansville, Indiana-based Berry Global, which plans to fund the purchase through debt, began showing interest in RPC after Apollo had sealed the deal. Apollo did not sweeten its offer even though some analysts noted that it could have been higher.

RPC’s products are highly complementary to Berry’s existing businesses and will allow the combined company to be a bigger player in the highly fragmented global market for plastic packaging, Berry said.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Jane Merriman

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