TASFOODS is considering legal action after its bid to purchase Van Diemen’s Land Company failed, despite a sale agreement.
VDL announced a new sale agreement with an unnamed private foreign company on Friday, two weeks after it declared a sale to TasFoods, formerly OnCard, subject to shareholder approval.
TasFoods chairman Rob Woolley yesterday said it was receiving advice on how to proceed and whether to take legal action.It will advise the stock exchange of its decision today.
TasFoods made a deposit with Taranaki Investment Management, the investment arm of VDL owner New Plymouth District Council, to exclusively negotiate the sale, Mr Woolley said.
“We offered them what they wanted. We had a clean contract, and they appear to have sold [VDL] to someone else.”
Mr Woolley said he believed TasFoods’ offer to Taranaki Investment Management was superior. It had agreed to pay $250 million for VDL.
But Taranaki Investments chairman Keith Sutton on Friday said the private foreign company made a “commercially superior” bid.
Mr Woolley said the VDL purchase by TasFoods, a Tasmanian-based company, had a groundswell of interest from Australian and particularly Tasmanian investors. TasFoods was due to issue a prospectus to potential investors in December.
Mr Woolley said he had not seen so much Australian investment in an agricultural enterprise in 15 years involved in listed farming entities.
NO DEAL: TasFoods bid for Australia’s biggest dairy, the Van Diemans Land Company, has been trumped by a higher bidder.
TasFoods will continue with its strategy of investing in and building value-added food businesses, and would proceed with other projects put on hold for the VDL sale, he said.
“I don’t want Tasmanians to think that we’re doing anything other than continuing our strategy.
“There’s more than one fish in the ocean, and more than one dairy cow on the land.”
VDL said on November 6 an agreement had been formed with OnCard, to be renamed TasFoods, in which it would acquire VDL’s dairy business.
The transaction’s completion was subject to conditions including OnCard raising capital and gaining shareholder approval.
VDL expected the transaction to be completed by February.
TasFoods would have been the first Australian owner of VDL in the company’s 190-year history.
A Taranaki Investments spokesman said it rejected any suggestion of unfair treatment or lack of fair play in its dealings with TasFoods.
The identity of the buyer is subject to a full confidentiality agreement and cannot be disclosed, according to Taranaki Investments.
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