November 18, 2018 / 7:51 PM / in a month

Brazilian caterer makes new offer for rival IMC

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian restaurant operator International Meal Company Alimentação (MEAL3.SA) said on Sunday that it had received a letter from holding company Abanzai Representaçoes declaring its intention to buy up to 42 percent of IMC, as the restaurant operator is known, for 8.63 reais per common share.

The price, which was disclosed in a letter to IMC dated Nov. 16, represents a 24 percent premium on the current share price of the company, which operates fast-food brand Frango Assado and fast-casual restaurant chain Viena.

IMC disclosed the letter on Sunday in a filing with Brazil’s securities regulator.

A previous offer by Sapore SA, a subsidiary of Abanzai, was rejected by IMC’s board in September after disagreements in the auditing phase of the deal. At the time, Sapore proposed to buy 25 percent of IMC’s outstanding shares at 9.30 reais apiece.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Sapore was discussing a new takeover bid after its failed attempt in September.

The Nov. 16 letter said that if the offer was successful, Abanzai would merge its operations with IMC.

The operation could cost Abanzai up to 598.7 million reais ($159.9 million) if they succeeded in buying their maximum number of intended shares, which is currently 42 percent of the shares available in IMC.

Abanzai said its offer for shares would expire by March 16.

IMC said in its filing that Abanzai’s letter declaring its intention to do buy its shares without specifying when it would start trying to buy them would damage its business. It added it had requested Brazil’s securities regulator to force Abanzai to formally declare its public tender offer in no more than five days.

Abanzai could not be reached for comment on Sunday. IMC was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Paula Arend Laier; Writing by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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