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Ceva turns down CHF 1.5bn offer
Posted on Thursday, 11 October 2018 10:31
Ceva Logistics has rebuffed an unsolicited non-binding cash proposal valuing the Swiss global freight management and contract supply chain company at CHF 1.53 billion (EUR 1.34 billion).

After reviewing the proposal, the board decided the approach significantly undervalues the group’s prospects as a standalone entity, particularly as it and CMA CGM have been exploring measures to boost performance to unlock full potential.

It added that in light of the current circumstances, it has agreed to modify a standstill agreement with its French container transportation and shipping partner.

The major shareholder is now allowed to increase its 24.9 per cent stake by up to one third of the voting rights of Ceva with immediate effect, though all other obligations remain in place.

In particular, CMA CGM is obligated to tender its stocks in a public tender offer by a third-party if recommended by the board, unless the strategic partner launches a superior bid.

Shares in Ceva jumped 25.7 per cent following the statement to CHF 23.15 at the time of writing and a market capitalisation of CHF 1.02 billion.

The company only listed in May after pricing an initial public offering at CHF 27.50 apiece, which is just shy of the CHF 27.75 per stock proposal tabled by the undisclosed suitor.

When contacted by Reuters for clarification and comment on the news, a CMA CGM spokesperson said the French partner would indeed consider increasing its participation in Ceva but not to the extent of launching a takeover.

If it did boost its voting rights to 33.3 per cent, as Bank Vontobel analyst Michael Foeth thought when speaking to the news provider, then this would trigger a mandatory offer under Swiss regulations.

However, the representative put paid to such intentions by telling Reuters: “CMA CGM doesn’t consider that a full takeover of Ceva is a prerequisite for their strategic plan to improve Ceva’s performance.

“It is not CMA CGM’s intention to launch a full takeover of Ceva at this stage. They feel there is a lot of potential to be unlocked in this company, and they feel it is important Ceva has the stability to achieve its goals.”

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