May 23, 2018 / 9:03 PM / a year ago

Trio of Smurfit Kappa shareholders urge talks with International Paper: FT

(Reuters) - A trio of shareholders at Europe’s biggest paper packaging group Smurfit Kappa Group Plc (SKG.I) have asked it to enter talks with the largest listed U.S. paper packaging firm International Paper Co (IP) (IP.N), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

One of the investors urging Ireland-based Smurfit Kappa to engage with IP is British asset management firm Janus Henderson Group PLC (JHG.N), which holds a 4.3 percent stake in the Irish packaging company, the report said.

“The message to Smurfit is to please either engage and get around the table with IP or give us reasons why you are not engaging,” Janus Henderson’s European equities head John Bennett told the FT.

Bennett said Janus Henderson has told IP that it will not support an offer below 40 euros ($46.80) per share but would urge Smurfit Kappa to work towards a deal for an offer above 40 euros a share, according to the FT.

Two other investors, holding more than four percent in Smurfit Kappa and not named by FT, shared the view that the company must engage with IP.

Smurfit Kappa and Janus Henderson did not respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

An IP spokesman said the company was confident that engagement with Smurfit Kappa would unlock the deal’s value potential.

Last week, IP said it would not make a hostile bid for Smurfit Kappa after being given until June 6 by the Irish Takeover Panel to make a binding offer.

Smurfit Kappa rejected a sweetened takeover offer in March, arguing that it was better served pursuing its future as an independent company. IP made a cash and shares offer that valued the Irish group at 8.9 billion euros.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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