Bachoco Buyout Stuck in Limbo as Mexican Regulator Delays Deal

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Source: Bloomberg

id to buy out Mexican chicken processor Industrias Bachoco SA by the controlling family is stuck in limbo amid protests from minority investors and a delay at the country’s regulator to approve the tender.

The company’s stock has climbed toward the family’s offer price this year and has been trading just below it for the past six weeks, pushing shares up 9.4% this year in peso terms versus a drop of about 13% in the benchmark S&P/BMV IPC stock index.

The delay and complaints by shareholders about the price of the deal led Bachoco to say late Monday that FTI Capital Advisors had issued an independent opinion that the 81.66 pesos per share proposed by the family was “fair, from a financial point of view.”

The Robinson Bours family, which owns 73% of the company, had announced its intention to buy out minority shareholders back in March for 20% more than the going price, joining a wave of companies that have delisted or are seeking to pull out of the Mexican stock market amid a prolonged funk. Weak valuations are deterring companies from going public and sluggish economic growth has dampened the need for capital to expand.

But it’s five months later, and Mexico’s securities regulator has yet to approve the offer in what is considered a routine process under Mexican law, leading Bachoco to take action.

 

Bachoco said it made public FTI’s opinion “in view of the delay in the start of the offer.” FTI’s letter to the board didn’t include data to back up its opinion.

The deal had drawn protest letters from a group of investors who called the price a potential abuse of minority shareholder rights.

Meanwhile, Bachoco’s lawyer warned minority investors in a letter dated August 24 seen by Bloomberg News that they could face lawsuits if their complaints about the fairness of the offer end up obstructing the tender.

“We urge you to stop sending your cowardly, unsigned communiques to media, and, of course, to this company,” the letter said.

The letter, addressed to the Mexican brokerage Grupo Bursatil Mexicano SA, included an annex with potential legal liabilities for the different investors, ranging from lawsuits from other shareholders in case the company’s stock price falls to an argument that Mexican pension fund managers involved in the letters could face prison.

Both Bachoco and GBM, the brokerage, declined to comment when asked about the letter.

The family had planned to formerly launch its offer on Aug. 22, according to filings with the stock exchange early last month. That plan was scratched at the last minute for an Aug. 31 date that came and passed. No further filings have been posted.

It is unclear why Mexico’s securities regulator has not approved the offer and neither the regulator nor the Finance Ministry responded to a request for comment from Bloomberg.