Smurfit Kappa's US Ambitions Draw Investor Speculations
Smurfit Kappa’s US expansion ambitions have occupied growing speculation among investors after recent documents revealed that a US packaging merger involved two further undisclosed bidders.
Filings by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington, DC, showed that American packaging firm WestRock competed with two other bidders in its successful $3.5 billion (€2.8 billion) acquisition of KapStone Paper, reported the Irish Independent.
Smurfit Kappa has been in the spotlight repeatedly over recent weeks for twice rejecting what it called an ‘unsolicited and highly opportunistic’ takeover proposal by the American paper company International Paper.
The Dublin-headquartered company derives almost three quarters of its Ebitda from Europe, but finance chief Ken Bowles has said that it is looking at possible takeover targets in the US.
A takeover of KapStone would have needed shareholder approval but would not have been beyond Smurfit Kappa’s reach, according to analysts.
Regulatory filings showed two alternative offers, which raised KapStone’s concerns at “Party B's ability to consummate a potential business combination" since it "would be subject to the approval of certain regulatory authorities and Party B's shareholders”.
Meanwhile, a London-based investor said there are “no other assets [Smurfit Kappa] can buy that can be as accretive” as a near €40 a share buy-out offer.
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