Beatrice Cos. Inc., the giant Chicago-based consumer products company, said last night that its board of directors has unanimously rejected the unsolicited $5 billion takeover bid the company received last week from an investor group led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Beatrice said that on the advice of Salomon Brothers and Lazard Freres & Co., its investment bankers, the company determined that the takeover bid is inadequate and not in its shareholders' best interest.
Beatrice said it plans to achieve full value for its shareholders by remaining independent, further developing its "outstanding roster of brands," which include Tropicana orange juice, and continuing to restructure the company.
Despite Beatrice's rejection of the $45-a-share takeover bid, it is likely that the company will be sold. In several recent takeover battles, target companies rejected initial takeover bids but ultimately agreed to be acquired at a higher price. It is unclear whether the New York firm specializing in management buyouts that made the Beatrice takeover bid last week will proceed with a hostile takeover attempt.
Beatrice, which markets products ranging from Peter Pan peanut butter to Max Factor cosmetics, had sales of $12.6 billion and net income of $479 million in the year ending Feb. 28.