August 1, 2019 / 4:55 PM / 4 months ago

Metro investors opposed to takeover offer start buying shares

FILE PHOTO: German retailer Metro AG sign is seen on the headquarters in Duesseldorf, Germany March 02, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

DUESSELDORF(Reuters) - Two major shareholders in Metro (B4B.DE) have started to buy more shares in the German wholesaler, the company said on Thursday, joining forces to fend off a takeover bid.

Meridian Foundation and Beisheim Group, which have rejected a 5.8 billion euro (5.3 billion pounds) takeover offer for Metro by EP Global Commerce, now control around 20.63% of voting rights, up from around 20.56% on Monday, a Metro spokeswoman said.

The two shareholders said on Monday they would act in concert to exert their influence. They said they planned to gradually increase their shareholding when buying opportunities arose.

EP Global Commerce, an acquisition vehicle owned by Czech and Slovak investors, made the takeover offer for Metro in June.

A filing on Thursday showed that investors are so far shunning EP Global Commerce’s offer. By July 31, only 0.56% of shares had been tendered by investors who had not already agreed to sell.

Including shares already held by EP Global and shares it can acquire using options, its total position would be 33.28%.

EP Global Commerce has set a minimum acceptance threshold of 67.5% for the offer, which runs until Aug. 7.

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi, writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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