Wholesale companies are highly unlikely to get involved in the takeover battle raging over Nisa-Today’s.
Bestway told ProWholesaler that it had no plans to make an approach, and while Booker “refused to comment on speculation”, insiders suggested the clash of cultures between mutually owned Nisa-Today’s and publicly quoted Booker would deter it.
The battle began when Nisa-Today’s revealed it had rejected a bid by Bibby Line Group to buy the company. In a statement it said: “In the Board’s view, the approach represented a significant undervaluation of Nisa-Today’s and would have meant the demutualisation of the company.”
However, Bibby responded by saying the offer equated to more than £1,000 per share for every retailer or wholesaler who maintained their volume of trade with Nisa, along with an opportunity to retain ownership in the business and continue to be represented on the board. Managing director of Bibby Line Group, Sir Michael Bibby, said: “Bibby owns a majority share of Costcutter, and the intention was to create the largest integrated distributor to independent retailers in the UK with the many mutual benefits this could bring.” He also appealed over the heads of the board to members for their views on the offer.
However, Bibby currently holds the distribution deal for Nisa’s ambient goods, and with talks going on about the next contract the bid could be interpreted as a way for Bibby to ensure it retains the contract.
• Today’s Group announced trading was up more than 20% in value terms year-on-year for the second quarter of 2009.
Bill Laird, Today’s Group managing director, said: “Against a continuing tough economic backdrop our members are demonstrating their resilience and innovation by reacting quickly to their customers’ needs.”