Aquaculture group NTS may be forced to raise its bid price if it wants to acquire Norway Royal Salmon.
The latest reports suggest a lukewarm response from shareholders to the current offer of NOK 209 (£17) per share, thought to be worth a total of nine billion krone or £938m.
According to the Norwegian financial journal Finansavisen, NTS has so far received only 1,478 acceptances. Shareholders have until 16 August to make up their minds.
NTS tabled the offer through its farming division Midt-Norsk Havbruk last month. On the following day, Finansavisen reports, the Glastad family, which holds 10.3% of NRS shares through Norway Fresh, signalled the offer from NTS was too low for them to accept.
A few days later the board of Norway Royal Salmon called on shareholders to reject all current offers for the company.
It said in a stock exchange statement: “In the board’s view, the offer price does not reflect the underlying values in NRS.”
The statement added that the board would consider alternative proposals at a future date.
It is almost nine months since NTS and NRS announced in a joint statement that talks to merge the two companies had ended. NTS revived its interest a few weeks ago, however, when it began to increase its shareholding in the fish farming company.
Norway Royal Salmon was set up in 1992 when a group of 34 salmon farmers combined their businesses.
NRS has since grown into one of Norway’s main salmon companies and expects to harvest around 52,000 tonnes this year, including 12,000 tonnes from Arctic Fish, its Icelandic operation in which it holds a 50% stake.