Monday, 24 March 2014

Whirlpool prepares takeover of Arsenal sponsor Indesit

American giant Whirlpool is closing in on a Euro 2.3 billion acquisition of Indesit, an Italian home appliances company that sponsors Arsenal Football Club.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Whirlpool has already approached Indesit's largest shareholder, Fineldo, about a takeover deal. Fineldo is the investment vehicle for the Merloni family, which founded Indesit in 1975.

The US company is said to have submitted a non-binding offer to Fineldo for its 45pc stake in Indesit at the beginning of March, according to the source familiar with the matter.

The move comes after Fineldo hired advisers last November to carry out a strategic review of Indesit, which also has a sponsorship deal with AC Milan.

UBS is advising Whirlpool on the transaction. The Swiss bank has also organised a Euro 2 billion bridge loan for the deal which will then be refinanced with a Euro 2.3 billion syndicated loan, according to my well-placed source.

However, Whirpool may face stiff competition for Indesit, which currently has a market capitalisation of Euro 1.2 billion. Indesit's enterprise value is Euro 1.6 billion.

Other news organisations have already claimed a wide range of bidders - including Electrolux, General Electric, Bosch, Siemens, Haier and Arcelik - are also interested in buying all or some of Indesit.

A spokesperson for Indesit declined to comment on the takeover story.

"If and when there is something to comment on, then we will do it," said Federico Ziller, spokesperson for Indesit.

I haven't had the chance to speak to Fineldo but Mr Ziller said the holding company doesn't currently have a spokesperson.

I have asked Whirpool for a comment and when I get the company's comments I will add them into the story.


A spokesperson for Whirlpool got in touch. He declined to comment. It is understood, though, that Whirlpool is studying an acquisition of Fineldo's Indesit stake and the Indesit group but a takeover deal is by no means a certainty.

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