LEEDS, ENGLAND — Waddington plc seems destined to be acquired by John Mansfield Group plc, since its own management buyout team has pulled out of the takeover race and no new bidders have entered the field. Waddington's independent directors have recommended that shareholders accept a 318 million ($521 million) offer from Marchington, England-based John Mansfield Group.
Mansfield Group, a small timber company, is being used as a buyout vehicle by a British investment fund.
Leeds-based Waddington, with operations on both sides of the Atlantic, announced that talks with its executive directors on a possible buyout bid for the company have broken down.
John Mansfield Group's management announced it will look critically at Waddington's food-service, pharmaceutical packaging and printing operations.
One analyst said Mansfield Group could offer Waddington critical management skills.
"Waddington is a reasonable growth business. It needs management control and decent returns," said Alastair Irvine, a packaging analyst at Merrill Lynch Global Securities in London.
Irvine pointed to the "volatile and disappointing" results at Waddington during the past 10 years.