German dairy group Theo Mueller is in talks to make a cash bid for Robert Wiseman
The board confirms that discussions regarding a possible cash offer are taking place with Mueller Dairy UK Ltd, said Robert Wiseman, in a statement in response to a recent rise in its share price.
Robert Wiseman shares, which have been trading at around 250 pence since early December, had risen to 270 pence Friday morning, before shooting up to 327 pence after the announcement about the bid talks, and valuing the firm at around 229 million pounds.
A spokesman for the company declined further comment.
The firm, which started off selling milk from a family farm in East Kilbride in the 1940s, now provides 30 percent of Britain's milk.
At the time of its last earnings in November, Robert Wiseman reporting falling profits as rises in the cost of raw milk ate into its margins.
Its full-year revenues were around 918 million pounds in 2011.
Privately-owned Theo Mueller was formed in Bavaria in 1896 and is most well known for its Mueller brand of yoghurts and creamed rice. It has a turnover of around 2.2 billion euros (1.8 billion pounds).
Mueller is not a massive buyer of milk in this country (Britain), said analyst Charles Pick of Numis Securities.
It did move into flavoured milk as a new product area for itself last year, so it's not just in yoghurts, but Wiseman has a middleman process in milk and doesn't make much of a margin.
So a little bit of head scratching as to why they want to be vertically integrated in this way.
The bid price would have to be quite generous, said Pick, pointing to the Wiseman family's over 30 percent stake in the company.
Under UK takeover rules, Mueller has until February 10 to make a firm offer for Robert Wiseman or walk away.
(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien, Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan in Frankfurt and Tresa Sherin in Bangalore)