Marine Harvest hopes to net Cermaq with higher bid

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NORWEGIAN fish farmer Marine Harvest has raised its offer for rival Cermaq, but said it would have bid more had it got the backing of its target’s board.

The firm, controlled by shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, said it would now pay 107 Norwegian krøner (£12) per share in cash and shares, above the 104 krøner offered before, valuing Cermaq at about £1.1 billion.

Marine Harvest, which has 25 sea farms in the west of Scotland, said it had been willing to boost its bid even further, but it was “not possible to receive support for such an offer from the board of directors of Cermaq”.

Its target later said that talks with Marine Harvest had been terminated as it did not feel the proposed terms of the offer would get “broad support” from its shareholders, noting the “substantial equity element” of the revised bid, which is 53.25 krøner in cash plus 8.6 shares in Marine Harvest for every Cermaq share.

Cermaq said: “While Marine Harvest has expressed a willingness to present a significantly better offer conditional upon the recommendation of such offer from the Cermaq board, it has not been possible to reach an agreement.

“This is partly related to the board’s evaluation of the financial terms discussed between the parties, but also to the consideration of the board that such terms would not secure adequate acceptance of the offer.”

Marine Harvest has been pursuing Cermaq with the aim of creating an industry giant with a leading share in markets from feed to processing. It successfully torpedoed Cermaq’s attempt to buy Peruvian fish feed-producer Copeinca earlier this month.

Shares in Marine Harvest and Cermaq have risen sharply over the past year on the back of strong global demand and limited supplies.