US firm Berry Global Group has been given just under a month to decide whether to buy British plastic packaging maker RPC after threatening to gatecrash its £3.3 billion takeover.
Last month Berry said it was considering tabling a rival bid for RPC just a week after US private equity giant Apollo Global Management’s 782p-a-share offer was accepted.
However, the Takeover Panel said on Tuesday that Berry must announce a firm intention to make an offer for RPC by March 13, or walk away.
The “put up or shut up” deadline will cease to apply if another company announces a firm intention to buy RPC.
RPC continues to engage fully with Berry in accordance with its obligations under the code and in order to advance discussions in the interest of delivering best value to RPC shareholdersRPC
The takeover regulator said both RPC and Berry have accepted the ruling by the panel and the deadline.
Apollo’s deal, which also included a dividend of 8.1p a share, represents a 16% premium to RPC’s closing share price on September 7, the last day prior to the start of the offer period.
FTSE 250-listed RPC had accepted Apollo’s offer in light of risks to the business posed by the “current political and macro-economic environment”.
RPC said that it continues to “engage” with Berry but maintained that there is no certainty it will make an offer.
In a statement, RPC said: “RPC continues to engage fully with Berry in accordance with its obligations under the code and in order to advance discussions in the interest of delivering best value to RPC shareholders. A further announcement will be made when appropriate.
“There can be no certainty that any offer by Berry will be made for the company, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made.”
Analysts at brokerage firm Numis said that “confirmation that the company continues to engage with Berry Global Group opens up the prospect of a higher offer for the company”.