U.S. hedge fund Engine Capital urges Univar to consider sale, other options

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Engine, which owns about 1% of Univar, said in an open letter that the bid by Brenntag confirms its view that the company is “undervalued” and a “highly attractive acquisition target”.

While Brenntag and Univar did not disclose any financial details from their talks, Engine said a sale price between $38 and $44 per share is achievable if the Univar board runs a competitive sale process.

It urged the company to publicly invite more bids from other parties to begin the sale process.

“While we acknowledge the industrial logic of a combination between Univar and Brenntag, and believe the synergies would be material, we also note that private equity has been actively involved in the space,” Engine Capital said in the letter.

Engine Capital on Wednesday also made public a letter it had sent to Univar in October, in which it said private buyers would be “better suited to value the company appropriately compared to short-term public market investors”.

Univar and Brenntag did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.