Shareholders Vote Yes on Nestle-Osem Merger

(Reuters/Hamodia) -

Minority shareholders in Israeli foodmaker Osem approved Swiss food giant Nestle’s buyout offer, paving the way for completion of the deal.

Nestle last month offered 3.3 billion shekels ($857 million), or 82.5 shekels per share, for the Osem shares it does not own in a deal valuing the company at 9.13 billion shekels.

Nestle already owns 63.7 percent of the company, while institutions hold 7 percent.

Ahead of the vote, Israeli consultancy Entropy — whose clients are institutional investors — said the valuation Nestle offered is too low and less than other purchases by Nestle in recent years. Osem, Israel’s third-largest foodmaker, rejected the argument, saying the terms were fair.

In fact, Osem’s value has been declining. The company posted sales of NIS 4.2 billion in 2015, 2 percent less than in 2014. Sales in the fourth quarter totaled NIS 1 billion, 3 percent less than in the corresponding quarter of 2014.

Company officials blamed the drop on, among other things, discounts partly arising from implementation of the Food Law and partly from sales campaigns.