Brascan Ltd., the brash Canadian company that wants to buy F. W. Woolworth & Co. for more than $1 billion, is facing new takeover pressure itself from a company controlled by members of the Bronfman whiskey family.
Edper Equities Ltd., two-thirds owned by Peter and Edward Bronfman and one-third by Patino NV of the Netherlands, says under certain conditions it will proceed with the conditions it will proceed with the $28-a-share bid for 45 percent of Brascan.
Brascan and Edper lawyers will appear befor the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) Thursday when the commission hears an application for the proposed conditional offer. The OSC, the Canadian equivalent of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is the most powerful stock regulatory body in the country.
Edper wants to make its bid subject to Brascan dropping its offer for Woolworth. It also wants its bid to remain open for 120 days while the question of the Woolworth bid remains unresolved.
Trevor Eyton, an Edper director and its legal counsel, said a letter has been delivered to Brascan "setting out detailed criticisms," of the bid for Woolworth.
The Bronfmans are major shareholders in Seagram Corp. Ltd., the world's largest liquor company. The company they control owns more than 5 percent of Brascan. It originally announced plans to bid for Brascan on the same day Brascan said it would bid for Woolworth.
But Edper wants a Brascan with more than $400 million in cash, rather than a debt-heavy company owning a store chain. It's planned bid was put on hold last week, but Edper now seems eager to proceed.
Brascan management said it opposed the original Edper offer because it was "a partial offer," and not a bid for all Brascan shares. Meanwhile, a U. S. whareholder of Woolworth is suing the company to stop management from fighting the Brascan bid.
Eyton said the critical letter was "the result of discussions with certain major shareholders and a more detailed analysis" completed during the week of the Woolworth acquisition.
Brascan issued a terse statement tonight saying it plans to oppose the Edper spplication for an exemption from Ontario's takeover rules. It will do so, Brascan says, because it believes a conditional offer for less than half its shares at $28 "is not in the best interests of Brascan shareholders."
Brascan considers that "Edper's criticisms of the Woolworth bid are completely without merit."