KKR offers to take full control of German's WMF

FRANKFURT Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:48am EDT

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Buyout group KKR (KKR.N) has launched an offer to take full control of German cutlery and coffee-machine maker WMF (WMFG.F), which it then would delist from the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Holders of preferred shares (WMFG_p.F) have until Aug. 11 to accept a 53 euro ($72.29) per share offer - a premium of 11 percent on the last three months' average share price, KKR said in a statement on Monday.

KKR, which already owns 72 percent of WMF, last month struck a deal with co-owner Andreas Weissenbacher, who is tendering his 25 percent for a stake in a KKR holding company set up to control WMF.

Weissenbacher initially opposed KKR's investment in WMF but has now sided with the buyout group.

To be able to delist WMF, KKR needs to control 90 percent of the common and the preferred capital. It would therefore have to acquire 75 percent of the preference shares, which are mainly in free float, and has set that percentage as a minimum acceptance level.

In 2012 KKR had offered holders of preference stock 31.70 euros a share when it bought roughly 50 percent of the common WMF stock from private equity investor Capvis for 238 million euros.

In 2013, WMF posted sales of 1 billion euros and a fall in earnings before interest and taxes of about a third to 47 million, prompting Chief Executive Peter Feld to vow that the company would put more emphasis on emerging markets.

($1 = 0.7331 Euros)

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Christoph Steitz; editing by Jane Baird)

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