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McCormick Withdraws Bid for Premier Foods; Shares Fall

McCormick & Co., Inc.MKC recently announced that it has abandoned its plans to acquire U.K.-based Premier Foods, after completing its due diligence review of the food manufacturer. Shares of McCormick declined 2.2% on Apr 13.

The manufacturer of spices and condiments announced in late March that it was pursuing the acquisition of Premier Foods. In fact, McCormick had approached Premier Foods twice, first in February and then again in March, but the latter rejected the offer and instead joined forces with Japan’s Nissin Foods Holdings Co., which became Premier Foods' largest shareholder.

Premier Foods said McCormick's possible cash offers of 52 pence a share in February and 60 pence a share in March represented insufficient premium to its enterprise value.

McCormick then revised its proposal and raised the bid by 25% to 65 cents per share on Mar 31 and expected the new offer to please Premier Foods' shareholders, employees, pensioners, creditors, and other stakeholders.

However, after the due diligence review, McCormick concluded that it would not be able to propose a price that would be recommended by Premier Foods’ board while also delivering appropriate returns to McCormick shareholders. Consecutively, McCormick decided to withdraw its proposal of acquiring Premier Foods.

Nevertheless, McCormick, known for its spices and Lawry's seasonings, regularly enhances its products through innovation in order to remain competitive and tap the rising demand for new flavors, spices and herbs, which are fast replacing demand for sugar, salt and fat. Last week, the company had introduced new products to make spring and summer meals more delicious. The 16 new products include spicy, global tastes for the grill and packaging innovations to enhance the flavor of chicken and for easy cooking at home.

McCormick has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Investors interested in the space can also consider Campbell Soup Company CPB, Medifast Inc. MED and Sysco Corp. SYY. While Campbell sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Sysco and Medifast hold a Zacks Rank #2.

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