£762m bid for UK F&B distributor Wincanton backed by board

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Wincanton provides logistics services for several major food and drink firms. Credit: Getty / andresr
Wincanton provides logistics services for several major food and drink firms. Credit: Getty / andresr

Related tags Finance

The board of UK logistics firm Wincanton has backed a £762m takeover bid from US business GXO.

Wincanton works with a number of major players from across the food and drink manufacturing industry such as Britvic, Heinz, Mondelez, Unilever and Heineken, while it supplies leading retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Morrisons. The business also offers logistics solutions across a number of other sectors.

GXO submitted a bid valued at 605p per share on 29 February 2024, with Wincanton’s directors responding a day later by recommending the offer unanimously.

Meanwhile, the board confirmed that it had withdrawn its support for an “increased and final”​ offer it received on 26 February from CEVA Logistics valued at 480p per share, or just over £600m. Based in France, CEVA also submitted a bid of £567m on 19 February.

In its response to the offer from GXO, the Wincanton board said it was “pleased that the public offer process, triggered by their recommendation of CEVA Bidco's offer on 19 January 2024, is maximising value and delivering a significant premium to Wincanton Shareholders​”.

‘GXO recognises the significant value in Wincanton’

Wincanton chair Sir Martin Read offered further comments on the offer: "We have long been clear that Wincanton is a great business with a compelling strategy, strong customer relationships and excellent people. Under the current management team, we have made positive progress and ensured that Wincanton is at the forefront of logistics innovation.

“The board of Wincanton is pleased that GXO recognises the very significant value inherent in this business and intends to recommend the offer to shareholders for their consideration​."

Headquartered in the US, GXO operates in 27 countries around the world, including in the UK.

On the announcement of its bid, GXO chief executive Malcolm Wilson said: “Wincanton is a world class business, and we have long been impressed by their high-quality people and diverse customer relationships across key industries.

The combination of GXO’s technological capabilities and global reach with Wincanton’s proven expertise in the UK and Ireland markets will enhance our offering for the benefit of both companies’ current and future customers. Our superior offer reflects our conviction in the value of this business and the opportunities the combined company will realize.”

In other news, Food Manufacture rounds up recent senior appointments announced at ABF Ingredients, AB Agri and BENEO.

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