Cooke raises the stakes in Tassal bid

Canada’s Cooke Aquaculture seems determined to continue its pursuit of the Australian salmon farmer Tassal.

The Australian Securities Exchange has reported that Cooke has increased its interest in the Tasmania-based business from 5.4% to 7.6%, the equivalent of share purchases totalling AU $21.7m (£12.35m).

Reports suggest that Cooke is prepared to pay around AU $1 bn (£567m) for Tassal, which is headquartered in the city of Hobart and operates a number of salmon farms around the Tasmanian coast.

Cooke has already said it wants to undertake the transaction on a friendly basis with an endorsement from Tassal’s board of directors, and therefore had proposed that the transaction occur by way of a Tassal scheme of arrangement.

It added: “The proposal is subject to limited conditionality and, importantly, is not subject to Cooke being granted due diligence access.”

Tassal maintains that the Cooke proposal does not reflect the fundamental value of the business, which is why it has so far decided not to engage with it.

It also added: “The company’s board of directors believes Tassal has an attractive independent future and is well-positioned to deliver growth in shareholder value.”

Last year Cooke missed out on Huon, another large Tasmanian salmon farmer which was sold to the Brazilian meat giant JBS.


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