A Chinese home-appliance maker is looking to clinch its second big overseas takeover in two months with an offer for Kuka that values the German automation group at ￠4.6bn.
Midea said yesterday that it had offered ￠115 a share for Kuka, which makes industrial robots used by Audi, BMW and Boeing. The offer is a 60 per cent premium on Kuka’s undisturbed price on February 3, before Midea said that it had raised its stake to 10 per cent.
That stake has risen to 13 per cent, and Midea was obliged under German law to make an offer for the rest of the shares because it planned to increase its stake beyond 30 per cent. Kuka said it would review the offer and consider public opinion. A person familiar with the offer said that Midea was “well aware” that Berlin would be wary about a Chinese company taking over a company connected to industrial data.
Midea has committed to Kuka’s independence, including its listing and Augsburg headquarters, and keeping the top shareholders in the company. It would not attempt a takeover if its offer was rejected, it added. Midea also ruled out seeking a domination agreement, required in Germany when a buyer seeks to integrate a target and control its cash flow.
Till Reuter, Kuka chief executive, said this month the South China group had “a very interesting operation”. Kuka had been in contact about automating more than 100 logistics centres, he said, but the relationship was “arm’s length”.