P&G Share Offer Provokes Wella Investor Ire

18 April 2003

The takeover of haircare group Wella by Procter & Gamble faces mounting opposition from the German group’s shareholders.

A group of Wella investors on Thursday handed an independent audit study to German financial watchdog BAFin that claims P&G’s offer for the haircare firm fails to conform to European Union takeover guidelines.

At the heart of the dispute is P&G’s offer for Wella shares. The US giant wants to pay $99 (€92; £63) per ordinary share and $66 per preference share, but many investors who own the latter form of stock are unhappy at the difference between the two prices.

Earlier this week, German cosmetics giant Henkel, which had designs of its own on Wella before P&G swooped, complained that the $66 offer should be raised nearer to $99 [WAMN: 16-Apr-03]. Reports that other shareholders feel the same raise the prospect of P&G’s offer being rejected.

These shareholders cannot stop P&G taking control of Wella, as it has already secured majority voting rights. However, they could prevent the US group gaining the 95% stake it needs to delist its acquisition.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff