Goodman Fielder steps up defence

Takeover target to sell NZ dairy assets in bid to help ward off suitors: report.

Three months after initiating a strategic review of its New Zealand dairy assets, takeover target Goodman Fielder (GFF) has opened an auction for the division, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Last week, Goodman rebuffed a $1.27 billion offer from Singapore’s Wilmar International and Hong Kong’s First Pacific on grounds it undervalued the firm and the move to accelerate the sale of the NZ assets appears a ploy to highlight the true worth of the firm.

ASX-listed Goodman has reportedly already received tentative interest from about 20 parties, including dairy giants Danone and Saputo, with a sale likely to recoup at least $550 million, according to the AFR, or around half the offer price from the suitors.

The development follows a report from the Business Mirror, a leading Philippines business newspaper, that quoted First Pacific boss Manuel Pangilinan as saying the current unconditional proposal was unlikely to be altered.

“We are standing by our offer... and we are staying with the price,” he said.

Those comments may have contributed to a 2c fall in Goodman's stock price yesterday, which now sits just 1c above the 65c a share takeover offer