China’s biggest manufacturer of home appliances, Midea Group, announced Wednesday an unsolicited takeover bid for German robot maker Kuka, offering 115 euros ($130) for each share of the German company, valuing it at over $5 billion. The Chinese company, which has a market cap of about $21 billion based on its listing in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, had, on Feb. 4, announced it raised its stake in Kuka to 10.2 percent and currently owns 13.5 percent of the German company’s shares.
The offer, made through Midea subsidiary MECCA International, of 115 euros is a 59.6 percent premium to Kuka’s closing share price on Feb. 3, which was 72.05 euros per share. The company said in its statement it “is committed to maintaining Kuka’s independence as a publicly listed company in Germany and has no intention of entering into a domination agreement regardless of the result of the takeover offer.”
Midea has previously announced its intent to increase its stake in Kuka, and the current bid is to keep in line with regulatory framework that makes it mandatory for an acquiring company to make an open offer for all issued shares of the company being acquired, if its stake exceeds 30 percent.
“As a customer and investor, we have been impressed by Kuka’s management and employees and have had constructive dialogue since building our initial stake in the company,” Paul Fang, chairman and CEO of Midea, said in the statement, adding: “We believe that a larger shareholding strikes the right balance between an independent Kuka while also putting both companies in a position to drive further growth through collaboration, especially in China.”
Currently, Germany’s Voith Group holds the biggest stake, 25.1 percent, in Kuka.
Midea’s offer is also subject to “certain conditions,” the statement said, which include “achieving a minimum acceptance threshold of 30 percent of the issued shares of Kuka, including the shares already owned by Midea, necessary antitrust and other regulatory clearances and approval of the transaction by the shareholders' general meeting of Midea.”
Midea bought 80 percent stake in Toshiba’s home appliances business for about $500 million in March.
Kuka shares were trading 13.35 percent higher on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange at 11:30 a.m., local time, (6:00 a.m. EDT) Wednesday, while trading of Midea shares was suspended in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange ahead of the announcement.