Schaeffler AG’s €3.64 billion ($3.8 billion) plan to buy Vitesco Technologies Group AG has sparked resistance from prominent minority shareholders including David Einhorn who argue the offer undervalues the target, according to people familiar with the matter.
(Bloomberg) — Schaeffler AG’s €3.64 billion ($3.8 billion) plan to buy Vitesco Technologies Group AG has sparked resistance from prominent minority shareholders including David Einhorn who argue the offer undervalues the target, according to people familiar with the matter.
Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital and Harris Associates have voiced concerns that Schaeffler’s bid isn’t high enough in light of Vitesco’s promising portfolio of products for combustion-engine and electric vehicles, the people said, declining to be named because the talks are private.
Einhorn in May likened Vitesco to a piece of candy containing both chocolate — the combustion-engine business — and peanut butter, the electric powertrain division, according to a presentation seen by Bloomberg. He estimated the value of the combustion-engine business alone at approximately €2.9 billion to €4.3 billion.
“Buy the stock and get the Peanut Butter for free,” Einhorn wrote in the presentation. “Actually, you get a discount on the Chocolate, as well.”
Read more: Einhorn Profits From German Billionaire Misery: Chris Bryant
Schaeffler — whose billionaire owners already control almost half of Vitesco and secured the option to lift their stake beyond 50% — last week said it’s offered €91 a share in cash for the company, confirming an earlier report by Bloomberg News. The German manufacturer expects the transaction will boost operating earnings and bolster its presence in the quickly growing electric-vehicle supply chain.
A spokesperson for Vitesco declined to comment. Representatives for Greenlight Capital and Harris Associates didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Vitesco earlier Tuesday said it will evaluate the takeover offer but flagged concerns from unidentified shareholders and employee representatives over the height of the bid and Vitesco’s prospects in a joint company. Its supervisory board formed an independent special committee to assess the deal.
Read more: Schaeffler Makes €3.6 Billion Vitesco Bid for EV Boost
The committee will determine whether Schaeffler’s bid is “adequate for all shareholders, recognizing the company’s value and perspectives of profitable growth in a market that offers tremendous potential,” Vitesco said in a statement. “They will also evaluate how the merger planned by Schaeffler will affect the company’s ability to realize its strategic targets and the company’s workforce.”
Vitesco said it’s on track to deliver on a self-funded transformation to become an EV powerhouse, with its electrification business expected to break even next year.
Vitesco “has continuously improved profitability despite major industry headwinds,” the company said. “In the last quarter, 90% of the order intake was related to electrification products.”
(Updates with shareholder concerns from the first paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected the spelling of the company name in the headline.)
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