Two billion-dollar offers on offer: The competition for Zooplus is entering the final phase

The Munich-based company Zooplus is to be taken off the stock exchange in order to enable international expansion. The two interested investors are on the same page with their offers for the online pet supply retailer. But one of the bidders has a small advantage.

The takeover of the Munich online pet supplies retailer Zooplus developed into a snail race. The Californian financial investor Hellman & Friedman (H&F) drew level with the offer from the Swedish investment company EQT and is now also offering 470 euros per share for Zooplus, ten euros more than before and a total of 3.6 billion euros. Zooplus shareholders thus have the choice between two financially equivalent offers.

Zooplus 482.20

Both bidders apparently no longer see any great scope for a further increase. However, H&F has an advantage. The Americans have already secured a good 17 percent of the shares from several major shareholders – including the RAG Foundation and the investor Luxempart. They are bound by their commitment again because H&F has followed suit. It is now EQT’s turn again if the Swedes do not want to fall behind. “We take note of the latest move by Hellman & Friedman,” said a spokeswoman.

EQT had recently added another 70 million euros to its offer, H&F is now only doing the minimum to secure its advantage. The Zooplus shareholders are betting that the 470 euros are not the last word in poker. The share in the small value index SDax crumbled only marginally on Friday to 480.80 euros. The Zooplus shareholders have until November 3rd to accept one of the two offers.

Deadline for takeover extended

The offer from H&F, which actually only runs until October 12, will be extended accordingly under German takeover law. In the worst case, according to the current state of affairs, both could fail because of their condition of getting more than 50 percent of Zooplus. Both want to take Zooplus off the stock exchange.

It is now eagerly awaited how the Zooplus board will officially position itself on the EQT offer. He had spoken out in favor of Hellman & Friedman’s offer and is bound by his recommendation under the contract with the Americans. “Hellman & Friedman is still determined to implement the agreed long-term strategic partnership with Zooplus,” said the financial investor’s announcement. They have considerable advantages for Zooplus.

Zooplus boss and co-founder Cornelius Patt himself cautiously put out feelers in the spring for an investor who should bring money for expansion abroad and free Zooplus from the short-term pressure to succeed that the stock market listing brings with it. He initially found what he was looking for at H&F, but the move had brought EQT to the fore.